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Module 2: Thinking Tools

Zaid Ali Alsagoff

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.

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

Module 2: Thinking Tools

1. Questioning

2. Concepts

4. Cognitive Research
Trust (CoRT)

3. Mindmaps

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)

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

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: Would something still be an example of this concept if it did not meet this requirement? When we are able to identify all of the requirements of the concept, we say these requirements are both necessary and sufficient for applying the concept.

2.2 Applying Concepts (2)

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 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: Should UNITAR have a main campus?

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.

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?

Example: Should UNITAR have OLT?

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 Exams should be abolished.

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 Student should be barred from VOISS if they do not pay their study fees.

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 What is the AGO of the Critical Thinking Course?

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.

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 Mindmapping in 8 Easy Steps: apping_intro.html

Contact Details

Zaid Ali Alsagoff

UNIVERSITI TUN ABDUL RAZAK 16-5, Jalan SS 6/12 47301 Kelana Jaya Selangor Darul Ehsan Malaysia E-mail:
Tel: 603-7627 7238 Fax: 603-7627 7246