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In a world overrun by information, critical thinking skills are essential to online learning and success in the workplace. To understand how millennials perform in this vital area, MindEdge commissioned an online survey of critical thinking skills. Conducted April 4 – 11, 2017, the inaugural survey explored the attitudes and behaviors of 1,002 young adults, aged 19 through 30 — both current students and recent graduates.

The survey provides a sobering look at the extent to which millennials need to sharpen their critical thinking skills. It also shows that a large majority of these young people understand the importance of critical thinking in the knowledge-based economy — an understanding that may drive more of them to improve these skills in the future.

Key survey results include:

Millennials struggle to identify false content.

  • Close to half feel that critical thinking is very important in assessing online content — yet only 35% are very confident in their ability to detect false information online.
  • Only 24% of millennials were able to correctly answer eight of nine questions designed to gauge respondents
    ability to detect fake news.
  • 44% were unable to correctly answer more than five of these questions.

Millennials understand critical thinking is important, but they are not confident of their skills in this area.

  • While most studied critical thinking in college, only 36% think they are well trained in this area, and only 20% think their colleagues are skilled critical thinkers.
  • Almost two-of-three (64%) say that critical thinking skills are, or will be, very important to their future job prospects.

The lack of critical thinking skills may also contribute to the spread of false information through social media.

  • 55% of millennials rely on social media for news.
  • 51% say they share online content very or fairly often.
  • 36% say they have accidentally shared inaccurate information.

To help foster the conversation around critical thinking, MindEdge is offering access to Dig Deeper: Critical Thinking in the Digital Age, a brief online course that includes sections on website reliability, the power of social media, native advertising, and how to spot fake news — along with videos, interactive games, and an online poll.

Sign up for FREE ACCESS to the Dig Deeper course.

Copyright © 2017 MindEdge, Inc.

Frank Connolly, MindEdge Senior Editor, discusses critical thinking as the antidote to fake news in his debut column on The HuffingtonPost:

“There Has Always Been Fake News, It’s Americans’ Inability To Read Critically That Should Be Alarming.”

Connolly’s “Dig Deeper” podcast on issues related to digital literacy and critical thinking launches later in April.

Copyright © 2017 MindEdge, Inc.

What it means to teach, and to be a teacher, has evolved since high technology entered the world of education.

Learning today is markedly different than it was in the pre-Internet days of, say, 1987. Students now have at their fingertips a digital Library of Alexandria, whether they turn to Khan Academy or MOOCs or to Google Books. The tools available, from mobile apps to online courses, help make learning easier.

There’s also been a shift in the classroom. Instructors have embraced experiential learning. Others promote group learning and project work. Some have abandoned lectures.

Students have more options, more ways to learn. Fewer find themselves in traditional classrooms.

Yet some aspects of teaching haven’t been altered. The art of teaching, of making connections with students, of spurring their intellectual development, of helping them engage, remains vital. And irreplaceable.

Our best educators recognize that they’re not only imparting knowledge, but also preparing students for a complex, challenging, and exciting future. The art of teaching in 2017 involves inspiring curiosity, supporting critical thinking, and encouraging a love of learning.

Jefferson Flanders is president of MindEdge Learning. He has taught at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University, at Babson College, and at Boston University.

Copyright © 2017 MindEdge, Inc.

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