In the field of instructional technology critical thinking is valued both as a practice for those in the field and as a skill or habit to teach and measure. However, traditional conceptions of critical thinking are limited in their usefulness and restricted to particular kinds of thinking and reasoning. Conceptions of critical thinking in instructional technology are dominated by these traditional perspectives. Missing is a substantive dialogue on the nature of critical thinking. despite the fact that such dialogue is a part of critical thinking scholarship outside of instructional technology. One of the primary limitations of traditional critical thinking is the failure to emphasize the recognition and analysis of underlying assumptions. Assumptions underlie every theory and practice in any field of discipline. Critical thinking itself cannot be practiced without the influence of assumptions, both acknowledged and implicit. In order for a critical thinking approach to facilitate analysis of assumptions it must be sensitive to the characteristics of assumptions and the roles assumptions play in everyday life. For this thesis, I propose a model of critical thinking that involves principles and practices that aid the professional in recognizing and evaluating assumptions, revising assumptions when needed, and adapting practices to align with assumptions. Such critical thinking in instructional technology has the potential to improve the practice of current theories, advance theories in the future, and guide practitioners in decision-making.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Instructional Psychology and Technology



Date Submitted


Document Type





Critical Thinking, Assumptions, Theory, Instructional Design, Web-based Learning, Philosophy