Skip to Main Content
Skip to main content

Critical Thinking Tutorial: The Key is Being Metacognitive

This tutorial will empower you with valuable critical thinking skills that are essential for your university education.

Metacognition: What It Is and How It Relates to Critical Thinking

Being self-reflective is an important critical thinking skill to develop. The assessment activity at the end of each module is designed to help you develop your metacognitive skills, or your ability to reflect upon and regulate your own thinking and learning. Throughout the activity, you will have opportunities to engage in reflective exercises that stimulate both single- and double-loop learning.

Image is of a flowchart depicting the difference between single loop and double loop learning

Source: The Difference Between Single and Double Loop Learning, created by Thea Schukken for the Zombie Scrum Survival Guide
by Christiaan Verwijs, Johannes Schartau & Barry Overeem of

  What is Single- and Double-Loop Learning

Think of single-loop learning as making a mistake and fixing it based on your existing knowledge or in response to the feedback or information you receive. For example, when you complete a quiz, you are engaged in single-loop learning because you identify errors and fix them by asking questions like, 'What did I do wrong?' or 'How can I correct my mistake?'. Single-loop learning encourages you to consider alternative solutions to refine your existing strategies.

Double-loop learning takes reflection a step further by challenging your underlying assumptions, beliefs, and mental models that shape your actions. It encourages you to question not only how you corrected your mistake but why you chose to do it that way. In this mode of reflection, you explore alternative perspectives, seek to uncover hidden biases or limitations, and consider if a different approach is needed altogether. Double-loop learning prompts you to ask questions like, 'What assumptions am I making?' or 'Are there other ways of approaching this?' When you begin to question your assumptions, you are engaging in a double-loop learning process, which is a core tenet of critical thinking.

  Upholding the Values of Academic Integrity - Keeping an Honest Journal

As you engage with the content in this tutorial, take the time to make meaningful connections between the course concepts and your prior/existing knowledge. Demonstrate your learning by challenging your beliefs, values and assumptions, clearly expressing relevance to self and adaptation to a broader context. It is important to journal accurately and honestly. While it is easy to skip over this step or to reflect half-heartedly, embracing honest reflection will promote personal growth, ethical conduct, and a commitment to upholding the values of academic integrity.