Home Cyberpsychology & Technology ChatGPT Enhances Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving Skills, According to New Study

ChatGPT Enhances Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving Skills, According to New Study

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In a recent study, Professor Daneshwar Sharma explored the impact of ChatGPT on developing critical thinking and problem-solving skills among management students. Conducted at the Jaipuria Institute of Management in Jaipur, the study incorporated a unique approach combining bibliotherapy and ChatGPT to address real-life issues like social media addiction and time management. The findings were published in the journal Business and Professional Communication Quarterly.

Critical thinking is a vital skill for navigating both personal and professional challenges. Traditionally, management education has relied on tools such as essay writing and case studies to cultivate these skills. However, the emergence of AI tools like ChatGPT poses new opportunities and challenges. While these tools can potentially undermine conventional educational methods by simplifying essay writing and case analysis, they also offer novel ways to foster critical thinking when used strategically.

Professor Sharma’s project leverages ChatGPT as an assistant, coach, and motivator to help students identify and solve personal problems. The project follows the critical thinking framework by Paul and Elder (2019), which includes steps like knowledge acquisition, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Students document their experiences and insights in blog posts, creating a reflective and interactive learning process.

Professor Sharma describes the practical use of ChatGPT in pedagogy: “There has been a cacophony of complaints that introducing ChatGPT in pedagogy will make the students passive thinkers, and institutes want to ban it. However, I observed that students are using it. I pondered how I could make the students use ChatGPT more knowledgeably and ethically.”

The study involved 122 participants from a postgraduate diploma in management programme. After an introductory brainstorming session, students identified personal issues they wanted to address, such as social media addiction, time management, and public speaking. The project then progressed through a series of workshops where students applied the critical thinking framework with the aid of ChatGPT.

Students began by using ChatGPT to gather knowledge about their chosen problems. For example, they might ask ChatGPT to summarise books and research articles on time management or social media addiction. This stage emphasised building a comprehensive understanding of the problem.

Professor Sharma explained his approach: “My own experience with ChatGPT made me think that it can be used as a library, a motivator, and a counsellor. I borrowed frameworks of critical thinking and bibliotherapy from psychology literature.”

Next, students moved to the comprehension and application stages, where they engaged with different perspectives and strategies to address their issues. ChatGPT provided diverse viewpoints, such as how a sportsperson might handle time management. Students then analysed these perspectives to develop a list of potential solutions.

In the synthesis stage, students crafted actionable plans from their list of solutions. They used ChatGPT to refine these plans, ensuring they were tailored to their specific contexts and goals. Finally, during the evaluation stage, students tested their plans over a week, recording their progress and seeking feedback from ChatGPT and their peers.

“The students identified a personal problem (time management, social media addiction, etc.), and conversed with ChatGPT using critical thinking frameworks and bibliotherapy. Based on these conversations, the students created a plan and followed it to tackle the identified problem,” Professor Sharma noted. “The students were able to manage their time and get out of their social media addiction based on these interventions.”

The study’s results were promising. Post-intervention surveys indicated significant improvements in students’ critical thinking skills. Students reported feeling more competent in applying critical thinking frameworks to both personal and professional problems. They also developed a deeper understanding of using ChatGPT as a knowledge-building assistant and coach.

For instance, students dealing with social media addiction managed to reduce their screen time by 60% to 70%, while those focusing on time management reported better productivity and reduced procrastination. Public speaking improvements were also notable, with students gaining confidence and performing speeches in various settings.

Professor Sharma noted that students appreciated ChatGPT’s ability to provide personalised feedback and generate ideas. This ongoing interaction helped them stay motivated and adjust their strategies as needed. The reflective blog posts further reinforced their learning, allowing them to share experiences and insights with a broader audience.

The study highlights several implications for educators. First, it demonstrates the potential of integrating AI tools like ChatGPT into the curriculum to enhance critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Rather than viewing AI as a threat, educators can harness its capabilities to create more engaging and effective learning experiences.

Sharma’s approach also underscores the importance of self-directed learning. By allowing students to choose and address their personal challenges, the project fostered a sense of ownership and motivation. This personalised approach can be more impactful than traditional methods, which often follow a one-size-fits-all model.

The project’s success suggests that similar interventions could be adapted across various disciplines. Courses in entrepreneurship, design thinking, and other areas could benefit from incorporating AI tools to solve real-world problems. Future research could explore the long-term effects of such interventions and compare their effectiveness with traditional methods.

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