October 25, 2022
Juri Mets, a PhD candidate and Junior Research Fellow at Tallinn University, has been an exchange visitor at SLATE for two weeks in September.
The exchange visit was funded through an exchange under the EU twinning project Scaling up Educational Innovation in Schools (SEIS). SEIS is a partnership between Tallinn University, the Estonia and Tampere Research Centre for Information & Media (TAU) at the University of Tampere in Finland, and SLATE: The Centre for the Science of Learning & Technology at the University of Bergen in Norway.
Juri Mets’ research focuses on critical thinking (CT) development in adult employees in the workplace. Mets considers CT from the perspective of developmental psychology. There is little research about the best practices of developing transferable critical thinking skills in workplaces, and Mets hopes to contribute to increasing the knowledge about this.
While at SLATE, Juri Mets was able to discuss with Senior Researchers Ingunn Johanne Ness and Mohammad Khalil matters that are highly relevant to his PhD thesis. Mets also had the opportunity to make international contacts within the field of developmental psychology, and to update his knowledge about and understanding of educational games by participating in the SEIS Summer School program.
According to the perspective of developmental psychology, critical thinking (CT) can be (broadly and generally) defined as the evaluation of assertations. Within the field of developmental psychology, Mets draws on Kuhn, Felton & Kuhn, Perry, Olson & Astington, Hofer & Pintrich as a basis for his research. Mets’ research goal is to develop an educational game framework to enhance transferable critical thinking skills at work.
Mets thinks there is a gap between the demand for employees to have critical thinking skills, and the actual number of employees that have these skills. He notes this as one of the biggest current and future gaps in industry. Traditional critical thinking teaching methods (like ones used for philosophy students) are not affordable in workplace education. Firstly, this is due to the time and effort required. Secondly, there is a lack of employee motivation, owing to a) excessive confidence in own beliefs formed under the influence of cognitive biases and logical errors, and b) a high probability of failures during learning that generate unpleasant feelings.
Distinct levels of children’s epistemological understanding that occur during the development of epistemological understanding, were demonstrated by Perry (1970). Kuhn (1999) proposed a conception of Levels of Epistemological Understanding where such levels are related not only to children, but also to adults. For the purposes of his research, Juri Mets needs understanding of and evidence-based data on how intellect develops, in terms of shifting up from one level of epistemological understanding to the highest one. In other words: what exactly one does to gain this understanding.