Metacognition and Learning

, Volume 7, Issue 3, pp 219–244 | Cite as

An evaluation of argument mapping as a method of enhancing critical thinking performance in e-learning environments

  • Christopher P. DwyerEmail author
  • Michael J. Hogan
  • Ian Stewart


The current research examined the effects of a critical thinking (CT) e-learning course taught through argument mapping (AM) on measures of CT ability. Seventy-four undergraduate psychology students were allocated to either an AM-infused CT e-learning course or a no instruction control group and were tested both before and after an 8-week intervention period on CT ability using the Halpern Critical Thinking Assessment. Results revealed that participation in the AM-infused CT course significantly enhanced overall CT ability and all CT sub-scale abilities from pre- to post-testing and that post-test performance was positively correlated with motivation towards learning and dispositional need for cognition. In addition, AM-infused CT course participants exhibited a significantly larger gain in both overall CT and in argument analysis (a CT subscale) than controls. There were no effects of training on either motivation for learning or need for cognition. However, both the latter variables were correlated with CT ability at post-testing. Results are discussed in light of research and theory on the best practices of providing CT instruction through argument mapping and e-learning environments.


Argument mapping Critical thinking e-Learning Disposition Cognitive load 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Christopher P. Dwyer
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michael J. Hogan
    • 1
  • Ian Stewart
    • 1
  1. 1.School of PsychologyNUIGalwayIreland

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