Some preliminary research has been completed toward validating the model (Fischer et al., 2009). A series of controlled studies was conducted of the effect of web-based critical thinking training on the information interpretation and analysis performance of Army officers. Subjective responses from the participants indicated that the training was considered highly relevant, beneficial to their military work, offered training that was not available to them elsewhere, and that the self-paced feature of the program was highly desirable.

Objective measures indicated that the training encouraged critical thinking and enhanced the understanding and analysis of information that resulted from a greater depth of processing. This was evidenced by increased officer sensitivity to likely errors, increased awareness of weak elements that might easily be overlooked, and by an enhanced ability to distinguish between information actually present and their own inferences about or interpretations that go beyond the information explicitly provided. Participants who completed the critical thinking training made significantly fewer unjustified inferences than participants assigned to the control conditions; they did make inferences but justified them by pointing out explicit supporting information. Therefore, the training appeared to encourage discrimination of what is “known” or “given” from what might be inferred.


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