"Critical thinking is a process that allows learners to gain new knowledge through problem solving and collaboration. It focuses on the process of learning rather than just attaining information. It involves discovering how to analyze, synthesize, make judgments, and create and apply new knowledge to real-world situations.
Critical thinking is important in the learning process since it presents opportunities to learn through discovery. When learners think critically they become actively responsible for their own learning. This can be a liberating experience that often leads to wisdom, and not just the learning of new information.
Higher levels of interaction in asynchronous discussions are needed to encourage learners to think critically. The rapid growth of online discussions has shaped current research on how higher order thinking, and learning, can be promoted through interaction between instructors, learners, and learning content (Blignaut & Trollip, 2003). This paper will examine strategies and challenges to encourage learners to think critically in asynchronous discussions."