At TITAN we believe that incorporating critical thinking assessments into Socratic dialogues will be a powerful method to promote deeper understanding, active learning, and the development of analytical skills in regards to identifying and calling out disinformation. Leveraging the power of Socratic dialogues in conjunction with critical thinking assessments will equip users with the tools they need to become discerning consumers of information.
Our forthcoming intelligent coach (in a chatbot form) will ask users probing questions to stimulate critical thinking and elicit thoughtful responses from the participants. However, to get to that stage we need to work out how to effectively integrate critical thinking (C-T) assessments into Socratic dialogues. After all, recognising disinformation requires more than just skimming through headlines; it demands the ability to analyse information critically.
To embark on this transformative journey, we knew we had to understand users' challenges and knowledge gaps. We reached out to the European news reading community, conducting workshops and interviews to gather valuable insights. Through this process, we discovered users often struggled to discern truth from fiction and that cultivating critical thinking in the context of disinformation detection poses several challenges that need to be overcome:
Emotional Bias: Emotions can cloud judgment and make users susceptible to disinformation that aligns with their preconceived beliefs.
Cognitive Biases: Users may fall victim to cognitive biases, such as confirmation bias and the illusory truth effect, which hinder their capacity to evaluate information objectively.
Information Overload: The abundance of data available makes it challenging to discern credible sources from unreliable ones.
Rapid Dissemination: Disinformation spreads quickly across social media and other online platforms, making timely critical analysis difficult.
With a first understanding of their users' concerns, we have set out to design Socratic dialogues that address these specific challenges head-on. Each dialogue we develop will be tailored to user needs, engaging them in thought-provoking conversations about disinformation and its impact on society. Through these dialogues, we aim to encourage users to explore their misconceptions, refine their analytical abilities, and foster a habit of critical thinking.
Our aim is to have our virtual coach gently nudge users to embrace cognitive strategies for critical thinking. Optional microlessons will help participants learn about the art of source verification, carefully evaluating the credibility of information encountered and seeking evidence to substantiate claims before accepting them as truth.
To date we have undertaken an initial mapping of the Critical Thinking dimensions to the Socratic method steps and identified the main differences between the two methods and the rationale behind the mapping. The next step is to find a way to integrate the two methodologies in order to both dynamically track the C-T level and create the Socratic dialogues, the results of which will be outlined in a forthcoming deliverables (report and plan) later this year. In the meantime some of our thinking can be seen in our knowledge repository.
By incorporating critical thinking assessments into Socratic dialogues, our intelligent coach aims to empower users in their quest to identify and combat disinformation and achieve the following results for the user:
Enhanced Critical Thinking: Users participating in Socratic dialogues with embedded critical thinking assessments are likely to develop improved analytical skills, allowing them to approach information more thoughtfully.
Better Disinformation Detection: Equipped with cognitive strategies and real-time AI assistance, users will become more adept at recognising and discerning disinformation from credible information.
Increased Resilience to Manipulation: Users who regularly engage in critical thinking assessments are less likely to be swayed by emotionally charged or deceptive content, reducing their vulnerability to manipulation.
Spill over Effect: As users refine their critical thinking skills within the context of disinformation detection, they may also apply these skills to other aspects of their lives, contributing to a more informed and discerning society.
Together, we can help people navigate the online realm armed with knowledge, discernment, and the power of critical thinking. Subscribe for updates at www.titanthinking.eu