Macat's online learning platform

Macat launches largest-ever critical thinking study

Online learning provider works with University of Cambridge to find skills required in graduates

Posted by Stephanie Broad | November 04, 2015 | Technology

Macat, critical thinking, research, online learning, University of Cambridge, survey, employability, graduates

Macat, an online learning platform and critical thinking tool launching in early 2016, has announced the commissioning of the biggest and most detailed study of critical thinking skills ever undertaken. The study aims highlight both the need for critical thinking and the growing gap between what students skills are entering the workforce with and what employers are seeking in potential recruits. Macat will be working with the University of Cambridge and other academic and industry partners to analyse what critical thinking skills are, why they are important, and how they can be developed.

Macat’s new research, commencing in January 2016, will have three parts. First, a survey will ask employers from a wide variety of industries to specify the thinking skills they require in student graduates, helping to define the gap that exists between supply of students and demand for graduates.

Macat will also ask over 2,000 universities, schools and companies from across the globe to take an induction test that measures their current level of attainment of six core skills: problem-solving, analysis, creative thinking, interpretation, evaluation and reasoning (also known in academic circles as PACIER skills). This will enable Macat to create the largest ever database of critical thinking skill by age and job role. This part of the research will also be open to members of the public.

The last part of the research, conducted in association with the University of Cambridge, ties all this together by investigating the vital features and interactions to develop these skills in the most enduring and best possible way.

In addition, Macat has released the findings from their first study in the critical thinking research program. Led by the University of Cambridge, the team set out to find what the most desirable critical thinking skills are amongst academics and students, across a range of disciplines in social science and humanities at 23 universities. There were 16 skills listed, however six emerged as the clear winners:

  • Problem Solving
  • Analysis
  • Creative thinking
  • Interpretation
  • Evaluation
  • Reasoning

Hassan Abdou, CEO of Macat, comments: “We believe that better critical thinking skills can improve society and help us to adapt to an increasingly challenging world of work. We take this so seriously that we have commissioned the world’s largest international study of what critical thinking skills are, how they can be developed – and why they are needed more than ever.”

Dr. Roy van den Brink-Budgen, co-founder and Director of Studies of the Centre for Critical Thinking in Singapore, comments: “Critical thinking has, for many years, been the subject of extensive academic literature, and the consensus is that it can deliver significant developments in the way in which we understand and deal with the world. With the clear decline (both now and in the future) in jobs that require routine cognitive tasks (and with the growth of automated technologies even in fields like medicine and the law), its potential for producing the high-level thinking that is needed for social and economic advance is clear… This study will help us look at critical thinking in a way that has not been done before.”

Find out more about the 2016 Macat Critical Thinking study here.


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