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Learning Path

Critical Thinking at Work—Simple Ideas on a Crucial Topic

Instructor Laurel Ruma
Time to complete: 2h 34m

Published byO'Reilly Media, Inc.

CreatedFebruary 2018

What is this learning path about, and why is it important?

From an early age, we are taught—both formally in school and informally by our parents, relatives, and others—to think critically and to “use our heads” (often heard as an exasperated sigh). Writ large, critical thinking is the tool that drives the growth of knowledge across all fields, from physics to the everyday products we use. Critical thinking is the consideration of alternative arguments or theories in light of evidence; it consists of weighing two or more ideas to see which is closer to the truth. In fact, you’re already using critical thinking skills in some aspects of your life. It’s using our heads.

In this learning path, your host and author Connie Missimer teaches you several facets of this fundamental method of reasoning. We think critically—a lot—without even realizing it, and Connie explains how this is a mental tool, not a set of “perfect” beliefs. You then see how you can transfer this “tool” across all areas of thought. Connie then explains how you can apply critical thinking to three main areas of the business realm: the workplace philosophy; processes within the workplace; and the creation of new products.

This learning path also describes why this way of thinking is different from other types of thinking, such as following a habit or deciding on gut instinct; why critical thinking equips you to move toward better answers or more effective solutions; and how you can use critical thinking to facilitate innovative thinking. Finally, you’ll learn that critical thinking is not at all difficult—in fact, it can be deeply satisfying—once you learn what it is and appreciate its value. You’ll be equipped with examples that you can draw on to immediately use critical thinking in your workplace and improve products and processes.

What you’ll learn—and how you can apply it

  • What critical thinking is and what it is not
  • How critical thinking can positively affect every aspect of your business
  • Identifying and questioning assumptions
  • Specific examples that you can use in your daily work

This learning path is for you because…

  • No matter what your position in a company, you can benefit from sharpening your critical thinking skills
  • You are an executive who wants to apply your understanding to increase critical thinking opportunities for all of your staff
  • You want to increase innovation at your company through more focused and methodical thought processes

Prerequisites: None