15 Fun Ways to Improve Your Critical Thinking Skills Online

15 Fun Ways to Improve Your Critical Thinking Skills Online

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If you are looking to boost your critical thinking skills, maybe so you can solve those tricky dilemmas at work, or perhaps because you want to be able to argue your point of view on X more effectively than ever before, you would be delighted to hear that technology can absolutely help you get better at thinking.

That being the case, below, we will look at some of the best ways technology can help you to improve your critical thinking online (and off).

1. The Classic: Online Crossword Puzzles

Yes, starting with the good old crossword puzzle might sound about as original as ordering vanilla ice cream but hear me out. Modern crossword puzzles are a whole lot more fun. They are online; they are interactive; they enable you to explore themes and topics. Cryptic crosswords, in particular, are good for getting you thinking in new ways. They are absolutely worth your time.

2. Minesweeper: The Forgotten Genius

Remember Minesweeper? That old game that pretty much everyone had access to via their first Windows computer? Well, it turns out it was not just a fun little time-sucker, but in fact, it is actually a tool for boosting critical thinking. You see, simple as it may be, it really is a game that forces you to think logically with every decision you make. Time to resurrect it

3. Strategy Games: Become a Master Tactician

Online strategy games like StarCraft or Civilization require you to manage resources, plan long-term strategies, and react to your opponents’ moves. These games are like the chess of the digital age (though chess fans would argue nothing can replace the classic). They help develop your ability to think ahead, anticipate consequences, and adapt strategies—valuable skills for anyone looking to boost their executive brain functions.

4. Escape Rooms: The Virtual Challenge

Virtual escape rooms are the online equivalent of being locked in a room with a zombie and having only an hour to escape before it finds the key to your brain pantry. These games challenge you to solve puzzles and find hidden clues, all while racing against the clock. They’re a thrilling way to develop problem-solving skills, attention to detail, and teamwork abilities. Plus, the adrenaline rush is real, even if the zombie isn’t.

5. TED-Ed Videos: Because Learning is Cool

Who says learning can’t be fun? TED-Ed videos are short, animated films that cover a wide range of topics from the mysteries of spontaneous human combustion to the secrets of the Mona Lisa’s smile. These videos are designed to provoke curiosity and encourage critical thinking, challenging you to question what you know and explore new ideas. Plus, you can impress your friends with all these random facts at the next trivia night.

6. Logic Puzzles: Turn Your Brain Into a Detective

Online logic puzzles are like mini-mysteries waiting to be solved. Websites like BrainBashers offer a variety of games that challenge you to use deductive reasoning, pattern recognition, and even a bit of spatial awareness to solve complex puzzles. It’s like being Sherlock Holmes, but without the deerstalker hat or the need to smoke a pipe.

7. Philosophy Forums: Debate Your Way to Sharper Thinking

If you’re feeling brave and ready to potentially question all your life choices, dive into online philosophy forums. Engage with others in debates about everything from ethics to the existence of free will. This can be a great way to sharpen your argumentative skills and learn how to think critically about both sides of an issue. Just remember, on the internet, no one knows you’re a dog debating Kantian ethics.

8. Brain-Training Apps: Personal Trainers for Your Mind

Brain-training apps like Lumosity or Peak are the digital equivalent of a gym membership for your brain. They provide a variety of games designed by neuroscientists to target specific areas of brain development including memory, flexibility, problem-solving, and attention. It’s a structured way to boost your mental muscles, and you don’t even have to lift anything heavier than your smartphone.

9. Read and Reflect Blogs: Engage With New Perspectives

Find a few intriguing blogs that challenge the status quo or explore topics you’re unfamiliar with. After reading, take some time to reflect on the content and write a response. This practice helps you process information critically, formulating your own opinions and arguments. It’s also a great way to engage in digital discussions and refine your persuasive writing skills.

10. Simulation Games: Run a City, Planet, or Theme Park

Simulation games like SimCity, Planetbase, or RollerCoaster Tycoon aren’t just about having fun (though they are a blast). They require you to think critically about resource management, strategic planning, and the consequences of your decisions on a virtual society. Mistakes are bound to happen, but in these games, a quick reload saves the day, providing a risk-free environment to test out your wildest strategies.

11. DIY Project Tutorials: Build, Create, Learn

Jump onto YouTube and find a DIY project that stretches your skills. Whether it’s building a birdhouse or coding a basic app, following along with these tutorials can enhance your problem-solving skills and adaptability. Each project builds not only a cool new gadget or a handy new shelf but also your ability to follow technical instructions and think critically about solving physical problems.

12. Analytical Podcast Challenges

Turn your podcast listening into a critical thinking exercise. Choose a series that covers controversial or complex topics, such as “Radiolab” or “The Hidden Brain.” After each episode, challenge yourself to summarize the key points, critique the arguments presented, and write down any questions or counterpoints that occur to you. This exercise not only enhances your listening skills but also encourages you to engage actively and critically with the material.

13. Interactive Documentaries

The internet has proved to be a real boon for lovers of documentaries. It is possible to find tons of free documentaries online on platforms like Youtube, as well as paid for ones on platforms like IDFA DocLab, where you can even make choices that influence the story or explore deeper into the topics presented.

Why watch more documentaries? Quite simply because, the more you know about the world around you and the various concepts that scientists and philosophers have come up with, the better you will be able to critically evaluate any new information you come across.

14. Virtual Debate Platforms

Platforms like Debate.org and Kialo, allow you to debate various topics in the virtual space. This is a really good way to brush up on your argumentation skills, while also seeing how other people formulate their own arguments in a way that is engaging and coherent. The more you debate, the more you will be forced to think about your position and the position of your opponent, and the sharper you will be.

15. Critical Reading Groups Online

If you want to improve your critical thinking, then joining a group of other people who are looking to do the same thing is a pretty good place to start, right? So, why not join an online reading group with a focus on critical analysis? You can choose books and journals that go into greater depth on a subject, and which foster a rich discussion. The more you engage and debate, the better you will get at analyzing information and arguing your point. It’s that simple.

As you can see, whether you’re defusing mines in Minesweeper, escaping virtual rooms, or building empires in Civilization, there are tons of things you can do to improve your critical thinking skills online, and doing so will make you a more intelligent, well-rounded snd capable person than ever before. So, what are you waiting for?

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