Dig Deeper: Critical Thinking in the Digital Age

MindEdge Online Survey of Critical Thinking Skills

In a world overrun by information, critical thinking skills are essential to online learning and success in the workplace. To understand how millennials perform in this vital area, MindEdge commissioned an online survey of critical thinking skills. Conducted April 4 - 11, 2017, the inaugural survey explored the attitudes and behaviors of 1,002 young adults, aged 19 through 30 — both current students and recent graduates.

The survey provides a sobering look at the extent to which millennials need to sharpen their critical thinking skills. It also shows that a large majority of these young people understand the importance of critical thinking in the knowledge-based economy — an understanding that may drive more of them to improve these skills in the future.

Key survey results include:

  1. Millennials struggle to identify false content. Millennials struggle to identify false content.
    • Only 24% of millennials were able to correctly answer eight of nine questions designed to gauge respondents' ability to detect fake news.
    • Close to half feel that critical thinking is very important in assessing online content — yet only 35% are very confident in their ability to detect false information online.
    • 44% were unable to correctly answer more than five of these questions.
  2. Millennials understand critical thinking is important, but they are not confident of their skills in this area. Millennials understand critical thinking is important, but they are not confident of their skills in this area.
    • While most studied critical thinking in college, only 36% think they are well trained in this area, and only 20% think their colleagues are skilled critical thinkers.
    • Almost two-of-three (64%) say that critical thinking skills are, or will be, very important to their future job prospects.
  3. The lack of critical thinking skills may also contribute to the spread of false information through social media. The lack of critical thinking skills may also contribute to the spread of false information through social media.
    • 55% of millennials rely on social media for news.
    • 51% say they share online content very or fairly often.
    • 36% say they have accidentally shared inaccurate information.

Listen to a Discussion of Results

Frank Connolly, a senior editor at MindEdge and a former political pollster, discusses the survey results with Dan Kennedy, associate professor of journalism at Northeastern University. Professor Kennedy is a nationally known media commentator who has written extensively on fake news and digital literacy.

MindEdge's Dig Deeper Course

To help foster the conversation around critical thinking, MindEdge is offering access to Dig Deeper: Critical Thinking in the Digital Age, a brief online course that includes sections on website reliability, the power of social media, native advertising, and how to spot fake news — along with videos, interactive games, and an online poll.

Sign up for FREE ACCESS to the Dig Deeper course.

Free Online Critical Thinking Course

This free online course includes lessons on website reliability, the power of social media, native advertising, and how to spot fake news. Sign up now!

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