The Thinking Triangle

3: Different kinds of thinking

3.1: Thinking in a higher gear

Common to all subjects and levels is the concept of higher and lower order thinking skills. Higher order skills are considered to be more complex than lower order skills. The triangle model (Figure 1) provides a useful way to visualise the relationships between some of the key intellectual skills valued in education. The complexity of the skills increases from the base to the top of the triangle.

The Thinking Triangle

Figure 1: Levels of intellectual skill — the thinking triangle
(Adapted from Bloom, 1956)

Although the skills in Figure 1 are arranged in a hierarchical way, they are all important. Much of the thinking we do involves a mixture of skills at different levels. We develop and use them simultaneously, for example, when we are solving problems and analysing case studies. One of the key aims of education is to extend and develop higher order thinking skills – to develop thinking at a qualitatively higher level, to move into a higher gear.

Extract taken from: Extending and developing your thinking skills (OU Learning Space)
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