Tuesday 5 December 2023
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How further education equips students with critical thinking skills

How further education equips students with critical thinking skills

The world of work is evolving at an incredibly rapid pace. With the advent of AI, for example, businesses are now using solutions that are smarter and more advanced than ever before to help them carry out their tasks efficiently. But behind the tools and tech powered by AI lies an invaluable asset – the power of the human mind and its ability to think critically.

Nurturing critical thinking abilities is essential in this ever-evolving world. This article will examine the role of further education in equipping the next generation with these types of skills and the importance of these skills in a competitive work environment. We’ll touch on the role of critical thinking alongside the latest technological advances and also explain how you can progress your career by choosing a program of study that combines both these aspects.

Once you’ve reached the end of the article, you’ll have some insights into the value of continuing to develop your critical thinking skills and will understand how they will accompany you on a rewarding career path in a constantly changing business landscape.

What is critical thinking?

Let’s start by understanding what critical thinking is. In short, it’s the ability to consider and analyze a number of sources of information and, as a result, make an objective and reasonable judgment.

Critical thinking also includes the ability to distinguish between reliable and unreliable sources and use information drawn from these along with analytical skills to solve problems, make decisions, and exercise choice.

It requires a sound grasp of a number of other skills too, such as the ability to recognize problems and work toward the most appropriate solution, to understand and employ clear and accurate language to express challenges and present the said solution clearly, and to understand the relationship between different sets of data.

It’s also important to understand what critical thinking is not. Critical thinking requires you to leave aside your prejudices, biases, likes, and dislikes behind. Critical thinking encourages you to approach challenges with an objective and rational approach, rather than having to rely on gut instinct or personal preference. As you can see, there are many aspects to critical thinking. It’s a skill that requires an open mind and opportunities to practice in order to reach a place where it can enhance many aspects of your working life.

How does further education equip students with critical thinking skills?

Like any skill, critical thinking is an ability that can be learned and refined with practice. These skills may be taught as part of a formal program of study and can be honed “on the job” in everyday situations. There are a number of routes that offer students the chance to learn, practice, and refine their critical thinking skills.

Postgraduate study is one of them. Clearly, anyone who is at the stage of considering postgraduate study has already achieved a certain level of education. If they already have a Bachelor’s degree, then they will most certainly have exercised their critical thinking skills to get them through the rigorous study required to gain their qualification. Graduates in the humanities will have been required to submit essays and other pieces of work that draw on numerous sources to inform this work. Likewise, science students will have conducted many experiments and pieces of research requiring the objective analysis of data to draw rational conclusions.

But to get ahead in the rapidly changing world of business, further postgraduate study is the key to deepening existing knowledge and skills and taking students to the next level. Even better are courses that develop students’ critical thinking skills alongside the advances in AI and other technological breakthroughs that are happening at a rapid pace in today’s work environment.

Further education courses of this nature teach students how and where to source data, how to analyze it, and how to reach a reasonable, measured conclusion after considering a selection of information from differing sources.

This is exactly what is required in today’s working environment, where traditional skills must keep up with rapidly changing business practices, working in synergy with them for better results for customers and businesses alike.

How does critical thinking work in combination with the latest business approaches?

Understanding the principles of business is no longer enough to get ahead in today’s employment landscape. With the advent of AI, there’s a new approach that’s disrupting the traditional field of business studies – and that’s business intelligence (BI).

Business intelligence harnesses new technologies and approaches such as augmented analytics. It uses these approaches to analyze, anticipate, and fulfill business needs. Augmented analytics, for example, draws on AI and machine learning, which uses algorithms to spot patterns and gain insights, allowing businesses to take a targeted, precise approach to their work.

For example, augmented analytics gives businesses the ability to collect and analyze data from a number of different platforms. Where a business previously would have to wait on reports from each individual platform to understand the overall picture, augmented analytics tools can now do this job for them, offering comprehensive and accurate data in a timely manner.

This means that decisions can be made more quickly, and improvements can be implemented sooner rather than later – essential actions to ensure that customers are offered the very best and most relevant services without delay.

Using BI alongside traditional business skills such as critical thinking can also offer a business cost savings. While tools based on augmented analytics can pinpoint where spending occurs, the critical business mind can act on these insights, making valuable decisions that can save money and direct spending to more productive areas.

Far from being a passive method of gleaning business insights, using augmented analytics requires an enquiring, investigative mind that can put findings into perspective and use them for their maximum benefit—in other words, critical thinking skills are still very much required.

How can I develop my critical thinking skills in the context of the latest business advances?

If you’re wondering, “Is augmented analytics the future of business”? and have other questions about how the workplace is developing, then you may be interested in undertaking further study to enhance your career. By choosing a postgraduate program, such as the Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) in Business Intelligence program offered at Marymount University, students can hope to understand the future importance of technology in business intelligence and learn how to implement its usage.

This course also combines business intelligence and the advances of augmented analytics with deepening your critical thinking skills, helping you can hit your professional goals with ease. It’s this combination of the best of tech and the abilities of the human mind that will prepare you for a successful career in business, where you have the tools and skills to anticipate your markets’ needs and get ahead of the competition.

Not only will you have the ability to get the most out of the latest tech and resources but you’ll also deepen your own analytical skills so you can apply the insights offered within the BI context with sound judgment. Many individuals intent on maximizing their chances of rewarding employment are opting for postgraduate studies that reflect all these competencies.

One of the first things you’ll note about this course is that it’s delivered online, which means it’s perfect for busy professionals who want their studies to fit around their schedule. This means you can study part-time when it suits you and from the comfort of your own office or home, without having to waste resources traveling to campus.

Another of the great benefits of this course is that you can apply the learning you are gaining directly to your professional life as you go along. The innovation and business intelligence skills learned in this course will have direct relevance to your daily tasks, helping you to develop at a faster rate thanks to the many opportunities to apply newfound knowledge to your role. With this doctorate, you’ll be able to prove your credentials to future employers, offering them evidence that you have a sound understanding of the latest developments in business practice, such as augmented analytics, as well as more established skills such as critical thinking.

In fact, a doctorate in the field of business can help you go as far and as high as you wish in your career. DBA graduates typically take on roles such as management analyst or senior business analyst, offering an elevated level of job satisfaction, many opportunities to progress, and decent remuneration.

If you’re aiming for the top and considering a role as a chief executive, then you can look forward to the challenge of taking on overall responsibility for a company and the satisfaction of earning an excellent salary. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that in 2021, the median annual salary for chief executives was $179,520, making this role one of the most generously paid in the United States.

Only the most committed individuals who take responsibility for furthering their knowledge and skills can reach these heights, so make sure you are fit for the future by investigating courses of study that can enhance your professional prospects.

How can critical thinking help students to navigate changing industry landscapes?

As we’ve seen earlier, while upcoming technologies and methods such as augmented analytics have a secure place in the future workplace, these alone are not enough to help you navigate changing industry landscapes. Critical thinking is an essential part of adapting to the rapid changes that we’re seeing on a daily basis nowadays.

If you’ve made a commitment to developing your critical thinking skills by undertaking a formal program of study such as a Doctor of Business Administration, then you will find negotiating the twists and turns of today’s working landscape a whole lot easier. An in-depth program of study where you develop your critical thinking skills to the next level will set you up for a long and successful career.

Critical thinking encompasses and enhances a whole raft of complementary skills, including:

  • Decision-making
  • Problem-solving
  • Organizational skills
  • Creativity
  • Strategic thinking

Combined, these skills can enhance any task or role, offering a solid foundation from which to practice your profession – whatever that may be. For example, a healthcare professional caring for a seriously ill patient without knowing their diagnosis will need to use their critical thinking skills to analyze data gleaned from routine clinical observations. They will also need to set aside any assumptions or preconceived ideas about what the diagnosis could be. They may use creativity and strategic thinking skills to consider rare illnesses or a combination of health issues to reach a diagnosis for the patient. And because the landscape of healthcare is changing at a rapid rate – just like that of business – they will need to employ all these skills to understand whether a new or innovative treatment is the right one for their patient.

The principles are much the same in a totally different context, such as in the world of business. If you’re faced with a challenge such as knowing which of the myriad of smart technology solutions out there is the right one to equip your workplace for the future, then critical thinking will play a valuable role in making that decision. You’ll draw on information-gathering and analytical skills to assess the options available and may also employ some creative thinking to the process by making up mock scenarios to test out each of the potential solutions’ functions before making your decision. This is just a simple example of where critical thinking can come into play in a common business context.

But the beauty of critical thinking is that it can be applied to just about any situation in any industry, offering you a tool for life that flexes to the rapid changes that we are witnessing on what seems like a daily basis. Critical thinking allows for rapid decision-making, which can, in turn, save money and enhance your business’s profitability.

Critical thinking also promotes clear communication since it involves a streamlined thought process and the ordering of these thoughts into well-defined words. It also enhances creativity through problem-solving, thinking “outside of the box” and assessing and adjusting creative solutions until they represent the best fit for the challenge in question. Critical thinking requires systematic planning too, so that your rationale for solving a problem is easy to follow, logical, and appropriate.

All these additional skills and enhancements that stem from developing critical thinking will stand any student in good stead for a successful career in the business world—or in any other sector, for that matter.

Critical thinking represents a toolbox of skills, abilities, and competencies that can accompany a student every step of the way along their chosen career path, offering them the ability to find a solution to every challenge that they encounter, even in an uncertain world.

Be ready for an exciting future

Further education is the key to developing your critical thinking skills. If you’re intent on a successful career in commerce, then consider a doctorate with a focus on business intelligence to help you develop the skills you need to perform at your best. We know from the rapid changes that we’ve witnessed in the last few years alone that the world of work is facing an ever-changing future.

So, make sure you’re ready to enjoy the ups and downs that this kind of landscape is sure to present as we go forward into an exciting and evolving future.