Krathwohl’s Taxonomy For Transfer of Learning

There are five levels of transfer of learning. Here we give an example of transferring knowledge of how to use a new recipe. You can apply these levels to anything you’ve learned. How are you using the knowledge?

  1. RECIEVING: At this level we are willing to listen to or read about new information.  We read a recipe in the magazine and think it might be tasty, economical and easy to prepare.

  2. RESPONDING: We do something in reaction to the information.   We clip the recipe from the magazine.

  3. VALUING: We spontaneously use new information without being pressured to do so.  We actually use the recipe to prepare a meal.

  4. REORGANIZING: We rearrange some part of our lives ti include regular use of the new information.   We use the recipe regularly as part of our everyday cooking…or make it part of our special holiday menus, pot-luck suppers, etc.

  5. CHARACTERIZING: We use our new knowledge so consistently that we become known for it.  We are described by others as a person who does this recipe well, we are asked to bring the dish to events, and people anticipate its being served when they visit our homes.

Improving Life Through Critical and Creative Thinking

All of these Critical and Creative Thinking skills can improve your life by helping you to solve problems, make decisions, get things done.

Here are a few ways to apply the information to improve the quality of your thinking and your life.

  1. Be metacognitive in difficult situations
  2. Use the guidelines for critical thinking.
  3. Avoid mistakes in thinking. 
  4. Find reliable resources on the internet.
  5. Honor the stages of the creative process.
  6. Brainstorm.
  7. Give yourself time to think.

The 20-Minute Problem Solving Model

Now it’s time to put the thinking skills to good use with a model of Creative problem Solving. You may get some inspirational solutions and come up with a satisfactory result. Though you can use this model by yourself, it is easier to learn the process by working with one or two other people. One person identifies a problem and the others help solve it.

Follow these steps:

Step 1

Describe the problem to the other people for five minutes. Say everything you cab about the problem. Remember the 5W’s and H: Who? What? When? Where? and How? What led to the problem? What are the consequences? What are your feelings? What are your feelings of others? If you run out of things to say, start repeating things you said before. Just keep talking for five minutes. Let the others listen and take notes.

Step 2

Allow the others to ask you questions for five minutes; then answer their questions. Some suggested questions: What do you really want? Is this a new problem? If the problem occurred before, how did you and others react? How has it worked out?

Step 3

In the group, brainstorm ideas for solutions for five minutes. One of the other two participants records the ideas for you. 

Step 4

Select the ideas that seem best to you. If you want, you can ask the others for suggestions, but you don’t have to. If you don’t ask them, they are not allowed to volunteer their ideas. As a group, develop a plan of action.

People are always amazed at what they can accomplish with this 20-Minute Creative Problem-Solving Process. The most difficult part is the first five minutes. It’s often hard for the problem owner to talk for five minutes and for the listeners to stay quiet! But it keeps everyone focused, and no time is wasted on socializing.

The Brainstorming Process

Brainstorming, one of the oldest and most widely used divergent thinking skills, is an openminded process to come up with as many ideas as possible on a topic as quickly as possible. Many people enjoy brainstorming and often do it just for fun.

Brainstorming’s inventor, Alex Osborn, is one of the great names in the field of creativity and creative thinking. He and J. Guilford, creator of the concepts of divergent and convergent thinking, are considered founding fathers in this field.

Many people are familiar with the term brainstorming but don’t really know how to do it correctly. You can do brainstorming alone or with others. Both ways can be productive if you follow the guidelines and establish the proper environment. Here are four guidelines for brainstorming:

  1. Defer any kind of judgment. This is the most important guideline. When coming up with possible ideas, don’t judge them for value. Doing so slows things down and inhibits the production of ideas. Let the ideas flow.
  2. Aim for quantity, not quality. Try to get at least 20 ideas. The first few ideas will be the most familiar. Pressure to produce more ideas forces new ways of thinking, which is what you’re after.
  3. Accept wacky ideas. These ideas often open the way to new insights and lead to practical adaptations.
  4. Piggyback. Build your own and others’ ideas. This is not copying. If an idea comes up twice, make no comment. Just record it. The person you presented it to may be on a train of thought that will lead to new ideas. establishing the right environment for brainstorming is just as following the guidelines. Here are some tips:
    • Review the four guidelines before starting.
    • Set an established time and place.
    • Plan to brainstorm for 15 to 30 minutes.
    • Set up groups of no more than seven so everyone can talk. Permit no interruptions and no socializing.
    • Work rapidly, with one participant recording the ideas. (Note: This person can also receive ideas from people after the session.)
    • Set up the room so people can sit comfortably in circles.
    • Value the process, and thank participants for their help.
    • Report later to participants on the outcomes of the brainstorming session.

Divergent and Convergent Thinking

Both convergent and divergent thinking are necessary for real-life problem solving and decision making.

Divergent Thinking, mostly related to creative thinking, is thinking aimed at finding many possible answers.

Convergent Thinking, mostly related to critical thinking, looks for correct answers or guides us toward selecting from many possible answers.

The answer to the question “What work did American women do during World War II?” requires divergent thinking, while the answers to “What does WAC stand for?” and “Which aspect of American women shall I write about?” requires convergent thinking.

You may identify your learning style as leaning toward either sequential or random learning. A preference toward random learning generally means you find strength and comfort in divergent thinking (more creative), while a preference toward sequential learning generally means you find strength and comfort in convergent thinking (more critical).

Since everyone posses qualities of both types of learners, everyone is able to think both creatively and critically.

How Do You Think Creatively

You can do creative thinking alone or with others. In either case, your goal is to bring something new into existence, such as an idea, an event, a plan, an object, or a process. Creative thinking consists of five stages. Knowing about these stages can help you improve your creative thinking.

Stage 1

Insight: Insight occurs when you realize you need to think creatively about something in your life that isn’t working right. You want or need to do something about it. Insight can come from within. For example, “My study skills improvement” or “My sociology paper is due next week”.

Stage 2

Preparation: Preparation refers to naming or identifying your specific problem and gathering information. Preparation time varies based on available resources.

Stage 3

Incubation: Incubation is the mulling-things-over stage. For example, you may have a researched a paper or project and are now thinking about how to organize all the information and present the topic. What are the main ideas? What important points should be included? What can be omitted?

For scientist, incubation is a period of puzzling over the meaning of new evidence gathered during the preparation stage that doesn’t fit previous explanations.

Incubation time varies from a few minutes or days to many years in some instances. “Sleep on it” is an incubation term. Often when you wake up, you have a solution or an inspiration.

Stage 4

Inspiration: Inspiration often comes in a quick flash of knowing. Suddenly you “see” a way to solve your problem. It’s frequently called the “Aha!” experience. Your inspiration makes you feel good because you realize you can solve your problem.

Inspiration doesn’t produce a sociology paper, nor does it complete a work project. Instead, inspiration tells you how to approach the paper (what the theme will be, what you should include, and the sequence of thought) and how to proceed on your project (calling those who can help, getting the boss’s support, researching additional information). The next step, actualization, actually gets the paper written and the project completed.

Stage 5

Actualization:  Actualization is the heavy-duty work that makes your inspiration a reality. It can be very time-consuming and is often accomplished in long intensive hours of continuous work called massed practice. You get all your research together and work through the process. In school, writing marathons are often called “all-nighters.” At work, getting a project realized means hours of overtime.

The Creative Mind

Creative Thinking means “thinking about thinking in order to bring something new into existence”. This new thing can be an idea, a plan, an event, an object, a book, a play, a research paper, or a process.

It’s important to know that:

  • You are a natural creative thinker because creative thinking is part of being human. 
  • You can improve your creative thinking by learning about it.
  • You don’t have to be artistic to be a creative thinker.

There are lots of ways to think creatively, and you will learn some of them in this section.

Why and When You Need Creative Thinking

You use creative thinking when you need choices for solving a specific problem. Several situations requiring creative thinking are listed:

  • When  something you care about isn’t working out the way you want.

Example: You haven’t found enough reference material for your research paper.

  • When you want to think of ways to deal with bad situations.

Example: You have a flat tire on your way to class.

  • When you to change the way you are doing something.

Example: You are chair of an important committee, and the meetings are too long, are poorly attended, and are inefficient.

Creative thinking and critical thinking are similar. You use them in daily life to assist in problem solving and decision making. Critical thinking leads to creative thinking, and creative thinking leads to critical thinking. For example, your critical thinking tells you that you need to study more to get better grades. Your creative thinking comes up with ideas for increasing your study time. Then your critical thinking selects the best ideas. Finally, your fear of failure drives you to do the necessary work.

A recent read: Lead From The Outside by Stacey Abrams

Lead From The Outside: How to build your future and make real change

by Stacey Abrams

I thought this book includes a really useful spreadsheet format for planning “what you want and what you need to get this” called the Stacey’s Ambition Spreadsheet.

Here is an excerpt from page 207 of the book.

Stacey’s Ambition Spreadsheet 

Use this tool to remind you why you want what you want and what you need to get there.

Ambition: ________________________________




(what do you want) (why do you want it?) (what should you do?) (whose help do you need… and what help do you need?) (when should each step be done?)

“Outside” for Stacey = non-white female

A message from Lou. Subject: SKIM Reading

“Skim reading is the new normal”, says Maryanne Wolf, the Director of the Center for Dyslexia, Diverse Learners, and Social Justice at UCLA. 

She states that, “when the reading brain skims text, we don’t have time to grasp complexity, to understand another’s feelings or to pursue beauty.” In addition, “research surfacing in many parts of the world now cautions that essential “deep reading” processes may be under threat as we move into digital based modes of reading.”

I found this article to be very interesting. Let me know your thoughts on this topic and how you have been personally affected by Skim Reading in the comment box below. Thanks, Lou

You can read the entire article at 

Visit Maryanne at

Mistakes in Critical Thinking

So many mistakes in critical thinking are made by so many people that numerous books have been written about the topic. Though you will make mistakes on your own, the actions and words of other people often contribute to your mistakes. By being aware of how others influence your thinking process, you will be able to judge situations more clearly and come to better decisions. Some of the most common mistakes in thinking are described in the following paragraphs.

Mistakes in thinking are called fallacies. They distract you from making decisions based on critical thinking. Several fallacies are described below.


Peer Pressure

Peer pressure causes you to go along with the crowd in order to be accepted or popular.

Example: “Ling and I are skipping class tonight to go to the hockey game. Aren’t you coming with us?”

Horse Laugh

Horse laugh refers to making fun of someone or something when you disagree. This fallacy is best communicated by one’s tone or voice or body language.

Example: Wallie is talking to a co-worker, and the coworker says, “You are doing that project?”

Two Wrongs Make A Right

This refers to returning an insult with an insult.

Example: “My coworker invited everyone to her party but me, so I’m not going to help with her project.”

Hasty Generalization

This refers to making a decision too quickly.

Example: “I know I just met him, but I don’t like him” or ” I tried playing tennis once, and I’m not going to try it again.”

Name Calling

Name calling substitutes a personal insult for a direct response.

Example: Joe says, “Being metacognitive about studying is a great help.” Pat responds, “That’s a typical nerd statement if I ever heard one.”

Scare Tactics, Appeals To Pity, and Apple Polishing

These fallacies all focus on emotional thinking and ignorance logic.

Scare Tactics Example: ” We, the membership committee of the Sigma Club, see in your application that you’ve been very active with the student newspaper. Did you know that our club president was kicked off your paper’s editorial board last year?”

Appeal to Pity Example: “Professor Amato, please let me had in my paper tomorrow. I had to take care of my grandmother last night. When I finally started typing, I ran out of paper, and it was too late to buy any. If you accept my paper late, I’ll be able to stay off probation.”

Apple Polishing Example: “Hamid, please let me photocopy your notes to study for an exam. Your handwriting is so much neater than mine, and you always get more out of Professor Smith’s lectures than I do.”

False Dilemma

People use a false dilemma to make you think there are only two choices in a situation–the one they favor and an unappealing alternative.

Example: The statement “Strong men watch wrestling on T.V., so what’s the matter with you?” is intended to make you think you aren’t strong if you don’t enjoy professional wrestling. Actually one has little to do with the other; there are many ways to be strong. People often combine peer pressure, mentioned earlier, with the false dilemma tactic.

Slippery Slope

People tend to use slippery slope thinking in situations involving change. Claims are made that the change will lead to many more changes and that the end result will be bad.

Example: “If we let you have two excused absences, then you’ll want three. Before we know it, all of our absentee standards will have disappeared.”

Begging the Question

This is also known as “circular reasoning.” The same statement gets repeated with different words, but nothing is added to the meaning. This is very popular in advertisements.

Example: “Athletes need a good, healthy diet. Therefore, it’s important to pay attention to what you eat if you want to perform well in sports.”

Straw Person

Have you ever had someone disagree with you by changing your statement? The changed statement is the “straw person.” Notice how the brother changed the one time clean-up request in the following example to a daily one.

Example: You ask your brother to help you clean the bathroom. He says he can’t clean it every day. It’s too much work and a waste of time.


Using someone of status to convince others of the “right” thing to do is one of the most common fallacies used in advertising and political campaigns.

Example: Famous people (prestige identification) or people just like you (ordinary people) tell you how great something is: “Buy it!” “Vote for it!”

Point of View

These fallacies are frequently used by people who want to persuade you to believe or do something. They have a particular point of view, and their message to you is tilted to favor that point of view. That tilt is called bias. Two common groups of persuaders in American society are politicians and advertisers. Politicians want you to vote for them. Advertisers want you to buy their products or support their cause.

In order to be influenced, a persuader only shows you part of the picture (that’s the bias)or a point of view he or she thinks you will like. Presenting part of the picture is called card stacking. The persuader only shows you the cards he or she has chosen instead of the full deck.

Several of the critical thinking guidelines can help you with bias. (Refer to the Critical Thinking Guidelines at

Know when you need more information  (Guideline #2) is something to keep in mind when you suspect the persuaders is stacking the cards. Separate emotional and logical thinking (Guideline #5) when you sense the persuader is appealing to your emotions –greed, fear, pity– and is omitting a logical approach. Know the difference between something that must be true and something that might be true (Guideline #4) when the persuader is making statements that are not backed by proof. Build your vocabulary (Guideline #6) when the persuader uses unfamiliar words and terms.

Looking for points of view is a critical-thinking strategy. While it is easy to believe people who share your point of view, remember to be openminded to new ideas (Guideline #1). Consider using other points of view and accepting people who have them.

Points of view connect with what you believe is important in life. Because what’s important carries feelings, part of your critical thinking is always connected to your feelings. Your brain has emotional and logical responses.  A careful thinker notices how feelings are involved in problem solving and decision making. Remember most sources of information have points of view!

How Do You Think Critically?

While you can’t be sure critical thinking will provide correct answers, you can avoid obvious mistakes in thinking. First, metacognate!  When you have a problem to solve or a decision to make, think about your thinking. Sleep on it, count to ten, or use some other method to give yourself time to think. You need to be able to calm your brain because many situations requiring critical thinking are emotionally upsetting. The part of the brain that thinks critically does not function at its best under stress, time pressure, or emotional shock.


The following six guidelines can help you develop your critical thinking ability. They were adapted from material written by Anita Harnadeck.

  1. Be open-minded about new ideas.
  2. Know when you need more information.
  3. Be aware that different people have different ideas about the meanings of words, expressions, gestures, etc.
  4. Know the difference between something that must be true and something that might be true.
  5. Separate emotional and logical thinking.
  6. Develop your vocabulary in order to understand others and to make yourself understood.

By using these six guidelines, you can increase your self-esteem because you feel mentally competent in many situations. The guidelines will be helpful for:

  • Identifying situations that can be improved by critical thinking.
  • Developing conscious attention to your thinking (metacognition).
  • Increasing your confidence about your thinking.
  • avoiding harmful gossip and futile arguments.