Technology is changing quickly and it is very hard to keep up. Adult education has changed by leaps and bounds over the last 30 years. Higher education is more accessible with each new itteration of technology solutions. Even 10 years ago, to build a quality online educational offering required someone who was savvy with computer technology and could troubleshoot any problems that may arise. This often kept people going to night school if they wanted to further their education. Sure, we all were using Word Processing and Spreadhseet programs by then, but we only used about 10% of the capability and these capabilites have also grown exponentially. So, where does this leave us as end users? While we have many new "shiny" tools to help us avoid problems, what do we do when they inevitablly arise?
Do we throw up our hands and storm out? - That would not be condusive to holding one's job in this current climate.
Do we fret and complain and spend our days frustrated? - Many do.
Do we use our toolbox of knowledge to break down the issue, analyse what we did and see if we can find the fix or reason why things happened? - This is ideal. If we are able to breakdown an issue into its core elements, look at all our possibilites before involving others, even if we don't find the right answer, we have just worked our brains and kept it healthy.
So, what sort of questions do we ask during our "critical thinking" process?
Watch this video: http://youtu.be/fhGxyyc8bX4
Many times we are presented with the statement: "It's broke, fix it." What's broke? If we went to Doug's Holistic car repair we would probably not have the right thing fixed. If I went to my mechanic and told him that it was broken, fix it, I would probably end up with a very large bill because he would have "fixed" anything that "might" have been broken.
So, we are smart, we protect ourselves by providing the "mechanic" with as much information as possible. The better conversation would be: "I was driving up a steep hill when I heard a low ping and it felt like something released." That points the mechanic to under the wheels for something that would have taken tork to separate. I don't have to be a car mechanic to help diagnose a problem with my car. The same is true of supporting the software you use every day on the job.
This means that if we think critically every day our brains get smarter and we increase our internal value to our companies. Don't be afraid to ask Who, What, When, Where, Why and How. Remember critical thinking questions begin with a W or H, not I.
Also, just like our mothers told us when we asked over and over again "why?"... sometimes there just isn't a reason ("because I said so") for why some things happen. Internet, networking and power glitches happen from time to time which means if you can't repeat it, we may struggle repeating it too.
One last thought about critical thinking...
Don't take things simply at face value. Look at your sources. Did a credible person write the article? Do you know if that resource is reliable? Always ask yourself, is there another side to this argument? This is true as much in life as it is in our business lives.
Caryn Morgan, corporate trainer, obtained her Masters Degree in Adult Education and Training