Promoting Critical Thinking in an Online Certificate Program For Faculty in the Health Professions

Carol C. Thompson, Jill Patterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Organizations governing education in the health professions have recently called for changes in teaching to promote students’ use of critical thinking (CT). Expectations for CT in courses to train educators should be aligned with the expectations of student use of CT. A growing number of certificate and master’s-level programs are being developed to address the needs of educators in the health professions who are unlikely to have experienced training in adult education, curriculum development, and assessment. This study explored the extent to which online course discussion forums in continuing profession education courses on teaching and curriculum design can play a role in the development of participants’ CT skills. It investigated an online pilot program of courses that relied heavily on discussions, with prompts designed to elicit higher-level thinking. The 190 discussion posts made over the four program courses were analyzed for CT. Posts were cross-coded by both authors. Frequency of CT increased substantially over the program. Metacognition use in particular rose sharply and consistently. We found that carefully structured online courses can promote CT among educators in the health professions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-84
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Journal of Distance Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications


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