Development of Critical Thinking Skills in Collegiate Aviation Programs

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Irene Miller
Thomas Long


Critical thinking requires an individual to gather and interpret data, develop conclusions based upon relevant findings, and implement the best solution. The dynamic aviation industry requires these skills of its pilots, maintainers, and managers for companies to remain successful.  Collegiate aviation programs need to teach critical thinking and cognitive skills to allow students entering the workforce to become these successful aviation managers, maintainers, and pilots. The School of Aviation at Southern Illinois University conducted a research study to inform the development of pedagogical techniques for promoting critical thinking skills in the classroom and determine their efficacy. The research study used critical thinking skills assessments, in a pre and posttest format, to determine if students experienced an increase in their ability to think critically. The findings indicate there was no statistically significant increase in students’ total scores on the critical thinking assessments.  However, these findings support the development of best practices which can be adopted and refined by collegiate aviation programs.

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