Higher-order thinking is also referred as higher order thinking skills (HOTS); it is a concept of education reform based on learning taxonomies (such as Bloom's Taxonomy). The idea behind it is that some forms of learning require more cognitive processing than others. Higher order thinking skills include critical, logical, reflective, meta-cognitive, and creative thinking. Students need to adapt to critical thinking rather than just memorizing what they read in books or on other resources. Practicing Higher Order Thinking (HOT) skills especially when you reach your college life is essential. You should have the ability to evaluate and apply the information that you learn to find solutions to new and existing problems.  Technology has cultivated changes to the outlook of today’s students which is why institutes for higher education have realized the importance of higher-order thinking. To be successful you don’t only need a Master degree, you need to be an excellent decision-maker who can prioritize and, strategically handle problems. 

Distance Education doesn’t only focus on what the student will learn in their post graduate degree but they incur high-order thinking skills in them to develop a reflex of analytical thinking. Students are able to remember the information they learn more clearly with a deeper understanding of the underlying concepts. The pool of conceptual knowledge that develops in their minds can be used in other contexts. #Techfriendly lessons stimulate higher order thinking skills and require a certain coherence of communication to reduce ambivalence and doubt that eventually improve the students' attitudes about critical evaluation and assessments. 

Here is a list of 5 #techfriendly lessons taught throughout distance learning that can encourage high-order thinking:

  1. Group work

Use of a visual presentation to carry out a session in which you can create smaller groups of students and assign them with relevant tasks related to book reading or problem solving that needs to be analyzed and addressed with an explanation. Ask them to make small one minute presentations to clear their point of view to the rest of the groups. 

  1. Listening activity

Creating podcasts is  easy and allows you to record your lectures and then forward it to your students. This greatly influences the high-order thinking because a lot of your senses are focused on listening, thinking and then implementing. Students can collaborate and devise an audio based on the task given to them. 

  1. Demonstration through the screen

The technique of using a screen cast can be quite helpful as it supports videos, images and audios. Students can even create tutorial videos related to something they were assigned which involves a lot of thinking in the initial stages of building one. 

  1. Photo Stories

This helps the students create something from a concept they build from thinking about the scenario they are working on. A series of images help them illustrate the situation they have build up in their minds accompanied with multiple actions. 

  1. Infographics

All the statistical and complex information needs to be addressed through graphical representation. The use of infographics will allow the student to identify between accurate and inaccurate ones, which allow you to develop media literacy skills. Students can do their research and gather information of any topic to portray through infographics.

To achieve academic gains from a Masters degree students need to embrace high order thinking whereas teachers need to adopt enticing yet easy ways, supported by technology to forward it.

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