Assessing people's mastery in critical thinking, through a novel learning approach
State of the art: If we define critical thinking as a process, it can be considered a systematic assessment of information with the purpose of drawing an inference based on evidence. Considering critical thinking a skill, it focuses on thinking reflectively, productively, and ultimately evaluating the evidence. Critical thinking assessment can be based on tests, such as WGCTA44, the critical thinking module of the CAAP45 , and Cornell Critical Thinking Tests46 . In the tests, examples of argumentations are given, followed by questions that can be answered correctly or incorrectly. Studies already pointed out the question of the validity of these tests: since these instruments are asking the participants to follow some "rules", the test can be considered valid if we assume and accept the underlying rules. In this context, IPT has developed “ΓΝΩ.Μ.Ι.”, a digital application developed through research processes and anonymized data of 25 years, which can determine the cognitive and learning ability of users. The application goes beyond the diagnostic evaluation of the individual's cognitive and learning ability, aiming at the individualized and differentiated creation of a coherent framework for monitoring his/her cognitive improvement, through targeted cognitive enhancement interventions, per level of knowledge.
Challenge: TITAN aspires to provide a self-reflection environment for users, in which they are able to reconsider and discuss their opinions and inferences in an iterative process. While tests are usually proposing static, pre-defined settings with pre-defined correct answers, TITAN will operate in a less controlled setting. The possibility to be supported by Socratic dialogue-style conversational agents and to access to data, evidence and metrics about the specific interest topic and the content at hand, will lead the user to continuously negotiate their assumptions, being fed by relevant, possibly verified, information. Critical thinking in this way will not be considered a skill, but a process and a methodology to be adopted by TITAN users. Similar educational approaches have been heralded as constituting a “fourth education revolution” .
Going beyond: TITAN puts into its advantage an AI/ML approach to constantly monitor citizen’s progress and personalise Socratic dialogues capable of leading an individual or group of individuals to arrive at logical conclusions while advancing his/her/theirs critical thinking skills. AI-driven Socratic dialogues will be delivered in a ‘question-and-respond’ form with the aim of the interacting citizen him/herself to evaluate the factual correctness or reliability of a statement. However, it is important to acknowledge at the outset that the use of TITAN citizen intelligent coaching may raise various concerns that are yet to be properly addressed. These include challenges about their effective integration in fact-checking practices, the lack of robust evidence for their efficacy and potential impact on public policies against disinformation, and broader ethical questions on human-machine interaction.