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Module 2: Thinking Tools

Do You Agree with These Statements?

There are many students who are educated but few who can think out of the box. Pak Lah Why?

We want the development of modal insan (model citizen), students who can think critically and creatively, who are able to solve problems and have the ability to adapt themselves to an ever-changing global environment.
- Blueprint for Education Development (2006 2010)
* During the launch of the National Education Blueprint 2006-2010 at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre 16/01-2007.

How many faces can you see in the image?

Look at this picture. What kind of questions can we ask in relation to this picture? Use your imagination

Look at this picture. What kind of questions can we ask in relation to this picture? Use your imagination

But first, What is a Thinking Tool?

A Thinking Tool is an instrument that can help us in using our minds systematically and effectively. With the use of thinking tools, the intended ideas will be arranged more systematically, clearly, and easy to be understood.

This module will explore four (4) types of thinking Tools: Questioning Concepts Mindmaps Cognitive Research Trust (CoRT)

Module 2: Thinking Tools

1. Questioning

2. Concepts

4. Cognitive Research
Trust (CoRT)

3. Mindmaps

2.1 Questioning
Questioning is one approach to motivate others to:

Get information Test understanding Develop interest Evaluate the ability of individuals towards understanding certain things.

Why me?

A person who asks questions is a person who thinks.

- William Wilen

2.1 Questioning (2)

Look at this picture. Lets construct questions using What, Who, Where, When, Why and How.

2.1 Questioning - Five Ws and H

The Five Ws and H, is an influential, inspirational and imaginative checklist (often used by journalists) to generate: Data-gathering questions, during the early stages of problem solving when you are gathering data. Idea-provoking questions (e.g. whilst brainstorming). Criteria for evaluating options.

What Who Where When Why How


2.1 Questioning - Blooms Taxonomy


Higher-Level Thinking

Synthesis Analysis Application Interpretation Knowledge

Lower-level Thinking

2.1 Questioning Fact

Fact Seek to determine the basic information of a situation: 5 Ws and H What happened?

Who? Where? When? Why? How?

2.1 Questioning Interpretation

Interpretation Seek to select and organize facts and ideas, discovering the relationships between them. What is the main idea of Retell in your on words what happened.

There are many students who are educated but few who can think out of the box. Pak Lah

2.1 Questioning Application

Application Help us take knowledge or concepts learnt in one situation and apply them to other situations. How would you apply the principles of decision making when seeking a job? How do you apply this rule in your daily life?
Really? Youre Fired!

2.1 Questioning Analysis

Analysis - To separate the entire process into component parts and understand the relation of these parts to the whole. What are the parts or features of What evidence can you present to support Explain the reasons why you think
I was fired because I was 1. Intelligent 2. Hardworking 3. Proactive

2.1 Questioning Synthesis

Synthesis - to combine ideas and come to a conclusion. What ideas can you add to What might happen if you combine with ? What solution would you suggest for

2.1 Questioning Evaluation

Evaluation - to make informed judgments and decisions by determining the reliability of things. Do you agree with? Why or why not? What criteria would you use to assess


Well basically its about an idea(s), thought(s) or feeling(s). Resolving or portraying them from your creative mind as best as you can make it your concept. An idea is only powerful unless it is expressed well and unless you wish to express a message. Without meaning or feeling it is not a concept. So just taking a snapshot photograph does not make it a conceptual piece. Its when you put the concept to it that it becomes something more. The photo alone should speak for itself, even though it can sometimes be ambiguous. Thats where you take that challenge to direct the message in the path that you would like it to go.

2.2 Concepts
Concepts - General ideas that we use to identify and organize our experience. Structure of Concepts: 1) Sign - word/symbol that names the concept 2) Referents - examples of the concept 3) Properties - qualities that all examples of the concept share in common.


Words are the vocabulary of language; Concepts are the vocabulary of thought.


2.2 Concepts: Example

Wheels, Engine, Seats, Dashboard
Aristotle once said that an intelligent person is a 'master of concepts'.

Concept: Automobile

Lamborghini Proton Satria Neo

2.2 Forming Concepts

You form concepts by the interactive process of:

Generalizing - Focusing on the common properties shared by a group of things.

Interpreting Finding examples of the concept.

2.2 Forming Concepts: Example

Study the following dialogue on the concept of Friendship:

Amir Alfonso Amir Alfonso Amir Alfonso

Is 'friendship' what happens when two people meet and say hello? No, I think 'friendship' takes time to develop. Does 'friendship' occur after they have an interesting conversation? I think 'friendship' involves an amount of trust and loyalty, which can hardly be established after just one interesting conversation. So can I say that the relationship between my employee and I at work as a 'friendship'. I think in a 'friendship', trust and loyalty is given willingly and unconditionally. It should touch on different aspects of people's lives; and not just work.

2.2 Forming Concepts: Example

By studying the dialogue, we can imply that in order to determine which concept to apply to a situation, we have to: Be aware of the properties that form the boundaries of the concept. Be sure that the experience meets the properties or requirements.

2.2 Applying Concepts

Applying concepts means meeting the concepts necessary requirements. In determining exactly what the requirements of the concept are, ask:

2.2 Applying Concepts (2)

Using Concepts to Classify

When you apply a concept to an object, idea, or experience, you are in effect classifying the object, idea, or experience by placing it into the group of things defined by the properties/requirements of the concept.
The way you classify reflects and influences the way you see the world, the way you think about the world, and the way you behave in the world. The specific categories you use depends on the purposes of your classification.

2.2 Applying Concepts: Example

Some may attribute a girl's BEAUTY to her fair skin, rosy cheeks and long silky hair. Others, however, may attribute beauty to the kindness of her heart and considerate nature.

How do you classify the concept of BEAUTY?

2.2 Applying Concepts

Defining Concepts Giving an effective definition of a concept means both: Identifying the general qualities of the concept, which determine when it can be correctly applied. Using appropriate examples to demonstrate actual applications of the concept. That is, examples that embody the general qualities of the concept.

Role Models?

2.2 Defining Concepts: Example

How would you define the word car? What are the properties of a car?

Tony Buzan

2.3 Mindmaps
A mindmap can be defined as a visual presentation of the ways in which concepts can be related to one another.
Its the Ultimate

Learning Tool!

2.3 Mindmaps Why?

It Helps You to:

Save time as it uses only keywords (or concepts). Understand better Increase your ability to remember by utilizing the seven principles of Super Memory:
Visualization Association Making Things Outstanding Imagination Colour Rhythm Holism

The Rock Agrees!

2.3 Mindmaps: When?

Mindmaps are useful for: Note taking (listening) Oral presentation (speaking) Writing

2.3 Mindmaps: How?

Step 1: Draw the topic at the centre. Step 2: Add the Sub-Headings. Step 3: For each Sub-Heading, Add the Main Points and Supporting Details. Step 4: Use your Imagination (pictures/images) to make it outstanding and memorable.
The Rock Says You Must Try!

2.3 Mindmaps: Example

The Rock Likes Barry Mapp!


Edward de Bono

CoRT Thinking Method

The essence of the CoRT (Cognitive Research Trust) Thinking Method is to focus attention directly on different aspects of thinking and to crystallize these aspects into definite concepts and tools that can be used deliberately. It is designed to encourage students to broaden their thinking.

CoRT Thinking Tools

CAF: Consider All Factors

FIP: First Important Priorities

PMI: Plus, Minus, Interesting (ideas) APC: Alternatives, Possibilities, Choices

OPV: Other People's Views

AGO: Aims, Goals, Objectives (purpose) C&S: Consequence and Sequel

CAF: Consider All Factors

Used to look as widely as possible at all the factors involved in a situation. Steps involved: List down all the factors. Consider each factor. What is the appropriate decision to be made? Example:
a lot of woman nowadays love to smoking. You are appointed to draft a advertisement to prevent woman from smoking. Please do a CAF to create that advertisement.

Principles: Doing a CAF is useful before choosing, deciding or planning It is better to consider all the factors first and then pick out the ones that matter most. If you you have to ask someone else to tell you whether you have left out some important factors.

If you have left out an important factor your answer may seem right but will later turn out to be wrong. If you do a CAF on someone elses thinking you may be able to tell the person what has been left out.

FIP: First Important Priorities

Choosing from a number of different possibilities and alternatives (e.g. putting priorities in order). Steps involved: What are the important matters involved? Which is the most important one to be considered? Which one should be given priority? Example: Helping the flood victims in Johor.

Principles: It is important to get as many ideas as possible first and then to start picking out priorities. Different people may have different priorities in the same situation. You should know exactly why you have chosen something as a priority

If it is difficult to choose the most important things, then try looking at it from the other direction: drop out the least important and see what you are left with. The ideas not chosen as priorities must not be ignored. They too are considered- but after the priorities.

PMI: Plus, Minus, Interesting

Examining an idea for good, bad or interesting points, instead of immediate acceptance or rejection. Steps involved: List down all the plus points. List down all the minus points. List down all the interesting points. What is your decision after considering all the factors?

In Malaysia about 51% population is female. Imagine one day we have a one party politic special for female. Discuss PMI.

The PMI is important because without it you may reject a valuable idea that seems bad at first. Without a PMI you are unlikely to see the disadvantages of an idea that you like The PMI can show that ideas are not just good or bad but can also be interesting they lead to other ideas.

Without a PMI most judgements are based not on on the value of the idea itself but on your emotions at the time. With a PMI you decide whether or not you like the idea after you have explore it instead of before

APC: Alternatives, Possibilities, Choices

Generating new alternatives and choices, instead of feeling confined to the obvious ones. Steps involved What are the other alternatives to overcome the problem? What are the implications incur if every step is taken? What is the best solution?

Example Today, we have to pay toll to use highway. Please do APC how toll company can get paid without paying toll.

Principles: If you cannot think of any alternatives yourself, you should ask someone else. You go on looking for alternatives until you find one that you really like. There is almost always an alternative, even if there does not appear to be one at first.

You cannot know that the obvious explanation is the best until you have looked at some of the others. To look for alternatives when you are not satisfied is easy but to look for them when you are satisfied requires a deliberate effort

OPV: Other People's Views

Moving out of ones own viewpoint to consider the points of view of all others involved in any situation.

Steps involved Will this idea influence others? Others people opinion on this matter? Is your idea relevant before actions are taken? Example: A Girl decide to marry her ex-boy friend who are married. Please do OPV

AGO: Aims, Goals, Objectives

Picking out and defining the objectives so as one is clear about his own aims and understanding those of others (Purpose).

Steps involved: What is the AGO of the plan? Are the implementations out of The AGO? How do I make sure that the AGO is achieved? Example You are asked to produce a TV show special for farmer. Please do AGO

Remember:You can do somethings out of habit, because everyone else is doing it, or as a reaction to a situation. These are called because reasons. But there are also times when you do something in order to achieve some purpose or objective.

It can help your thinking if you know exactly what you are trying to achieve. It can also help you to understand other peoples thinking if you can see their objectives.

C&S: Consequence and Sequel

Considering the immediate, short (e.g. 1 - 2 years), medium (e.g. 2 - 5 year) and long term (e.g. over 5 years) consequences. Steps involved: What are the long term effects? What are the risks I have to face? To what extent the new plan would bring changes? Example: The future of e-Learning at UNITAR.

Principles. Other people may be able to see the consequences of your action more easily than you can yourself. It is important to know whether the consequences are reversible or not. consequences you should consider. You should look at the consequences not only as they affect you but as they affect other people as well.

The immediate consequences and the long term consequences may be opposite; immediate consequences may be good and long term consequences may be bad, or the other way round. You should do a full C&S before deciding which consequences you should consider.

Group Activity

The Rock Likes UNITAR.

Break into groups of 4-5, and then discuss:

How can UNITAR students help the flood victims in Malaysia?

Choose one member of your group to take notes.

10 min

Use one (or more) of the CoRT thinking tools to come up with suggestions.

5 min
15 min

Draw a mindmap of your group findings.

Group presentation & discussion

1. Questioning
Questioning is one approach to motivate others to get information, test understanding, develop interest, and evaluate the ability of individuals towards understanding certain things. Tools include the 5 Ws and H, Blooms taxonomy, etc. Concepts are general ideas that we use to identify and organize our experience. Structure of Concepts: Sign, Referents and Properties. Helps you to save time as it uses only keywords (or concepts), understand better and Increase your ability to remember. It is useful for: Note taking, Oral presentation and Writing.

2. Concepts 3. Mindmaps

4. CoRT

CAF: Consider All Factors FIP: First Important Priorities PMI: Plus, Minus, Interesting APC: Alternatives, Possibilities, Choices OPV: Other People's Views AGO: Aims, Goals, Objectives C&S: Consequence and Sequel

Any Questions?

The End

Online Resources Courseware Module 1: Module 6: Mindmapping in 8 Easy Steps: apping_intro.html