Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Cortázar C., Nussbaum M., Harcha J., Alvares D., López F., Goñi J., Cabezas V. (2020)

Promoting Critical Thinking in an Online, Project-Based Course

Revista : Computers in Human Behavior
Volumen : 119
Número : 0747
Páginas : 106705
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación


Education institutions are expected to contribute to the development of students’ critical thinking skills. Due to COVID-19, there has been a surge in interest in online teaching. The aim of this study is therefore to design a strategy to promote critical thinking in an online setting for first year undergraduates. An intervention was carried out with 834 students at an engineering school; it comprised five activities designed to develop critical thinking. Both the control and experimental groups worked with a project-based learning strategy, while the experimental group was provided with scaffolding for a socially shared regulation process. All students answered an identical pre- and post-test so as to analyze the impact on critical thinking. Both strategies performed significantly better on the post-test, suggesting that online project-based learning improves critical thinking. However, following a socially shared regulation scaffolding led to a significantly greater improvement. In this sense, the socially shared regulation scaffolding provided to the experimental group proved to be key, while feedback was also an important element in the development of critical thinking. This study shows that online project-based learning fosters the development of critical thinking, while providing a socially shared regulation scaffolding also has a significant impact.