If you have been using Lernabit for some time or if you browse through the Bits currently available, you will notice that a lot of them focus on logic, logical fallacies, and critical thinking skills. Recently, someone asked me why I decided to start with those topics when I created the first Bits, and I want to answer that question publicly because it can shed some light on the vision I have for Lernabit.
What is critical thinking?
First, let me take a moment to clarify what I mean by “critical thinking,” because many people have their own definition of what critical thinking is and how to do it.
Critical thinking, as I define it, is a process of actively scrutinizing information to determine if it makes logical sense. As a fan of podcasts like Rationally Speaking, The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe, and others like them, I favor a definition of critical thinking that involves an open-minded, evidence-based view of the world.
Rather than simply accepting information as fact, critical thinking involves taking a skeptical approach to new claims and deciding if the given claims make sense or if they are total nonsense. Ideally, the decision of whether or not to trust a given claim is reached only after looking at evidence.
By that definition, critical thinking necessarily involves a skeptical view of the world, so critical thinking is a mindset as much as it is a skill set. Luckily, the skills can be learned and the mindset can be developed with practice. That is precisely what I have set out to accomplish with Lernabit.
Critical thinking is baked in
Because I see critical thinking as a vital component of education, I started Lernabit as a way to change education by making it more critical. Rather than simply teaching people facts about the world, I want Lernabit to bring a new level of critical analysis to educational content.
To be clear, factual knowledge is still important, but facts are mostly useful when combined with critical thinking to arrive at a truthful view of the world. As a good example, consider the Bit that I created about the components of a cell. That particular Bit was mostly a list-type lecture with very little of what I might call “critical thinking”. But it is still important because it provides a baseline level of knowledge that is necessary for other Bits to come. It is simply a foundation on which I can build more complex lectures that teach at a higher level. This is where many other educational sites fall short. They provide the building blocks in the form of factual information, but they never assemble those blocks into something greater.
There is no shortage of places online to look up facts or do research on a topic, the obvious example being Wikipedia. Wikipedia is a tremendous resource and has its place, but it is only focused on the facts without much in the way of analysis or context. By combining factual knowledge with critical analysis, Lernabit provides a deeper level of understanding than you can get from sites like Wikipedia.
Jump start your critical thinking skills
To date, I have created about 20 Bits about logic, critical thinking, and logical fallacies. Given the great importance of those skills, I’ve packaged them into a free course that is now available to all new and existing members of Lernabit. This free course comes with all 20 Bits covering critical thinking, including the transcripts. They are yours to listen and learn from.
The addition of critical analysis to educational content is the first of many ways Lernabit is improving education. There are more exciting innovations yet to come, so use the link above to create your account, get your free course, and receive all of the other sweet benefits of Lernabit.