When you make a decision, how often do you actually take the time to think that decision through?
Whether you’re making a decision at work or in your personal life, it can be tough to rationalize and make an informed, educated decision – especially if there are emotions involved.
However, there are steps you can take to become better at this challenging skill.
One of those steps is to take the Critical Thinking for Better Judgment and Decision-Making course on LinkedIn. Taught by Becki Saltzman, an accomplished leader, speaker, and entrepreneur, this class will prepare you, as a leader, to become better at thinking critically so that you can improve your decision-making skills.
You don’t have to be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company in order to benefit from this course. It’s a fantastic opportunity to expand and improve upon your existing skillset so that you have proficiencies you can take forth into every aspect of your life.
I took the course and found it to be a major eye-opener – and I think you will, too. Here’s why.
What is This Course All About?
This course presents a fantastic opportunity for professional development. Whether you’re a business owner or simply someone who wants to become better at making well-informed, thoughtful decisions, you’ll likely get a lot out of this course by Becki Saltzman on LinkedIn Learning.
The theory behind the class content is this – too often in life, we are bombarded with information (most of which is changing rapidly) that forces you to make quick, often rash, decisions. To do this, we rely on our biases and past decisions, which together tend to press us into making faulty conclusions (and the wrong decision).
As a leader, it’s essential that you learn ways around this. You need to figure out ways in which you can improve your critical thinking skills so that you can avoid fallacies, spot your cognitive biases, and improve your judgment. In doing so, you’ll also be able to craft a stronger argument and to improve your decision-making skills.
This course will teach you about all the common pitfalls that arise when making decisions, as well as ways in which you can teach your brain to respond to change and make better overall decisions.
What Kinds of Content Does the Course Cover?
This course covers a wide variety of research and training in the area of critical thinking and decision-making. The course is broken down into the following modules:
Every good class starts with a solid introduction from the course instructor – and this class is no different. Salzman starts by giving a thorough overview of why we need to become better critical thinkers.
She is unique in her approach to the course content in that she includes a video snippet right off the bat instead of just a cast of her speaking. You feel like you’re watching a movie instead of taking an online class!
She goes on to introduce herself and the five “critical-thinking killers,” discussing the essentials of critical thinking and why it’s so important to be able to make solid decisions. The introduction culminates in a chapter quiz.
The Critical Thinking Difference
The first main module of the course goes over the “critical thinking difference.” Salzman begins her course by detailing what exactly critical thinking is and how it differs from strategic thinking. While critical thinking involves looking at questions creatively and from fresh perspectives, strategic thinking is applied to those insights and opportunities to solve problems, overcome barriers, and accomplish unique goals.
Salzman gives some real-life examples to show how these two types of thinking are both similar and different. Then, she goes on to detail seven different ways you can think about thinking. Thinking is a trick, since it can be biased and uninformed, no matter how intelligent or successful you are.
However, according to the critical thinking experts (Richard Paul and Linda Elder) that Salzman cites, there are seven common elements you can use to uncover problems and to provide yourself with solutions.
The next step Salzman recommends is to put in place the necessary critical thinking conditions. These will help you make more effective decisions and learn how to change other people’s minds. Without these conditions, the list of which consists of ten questions you can ask yourself or your team, you will have a hard time coming up with solutions that will help you prevent and eliminate bias and to make effective decisions.
Minimizing Bad Judgment
In the next section of the course, you’ll learn about what Salzman calls the “Nobel Prize-winning way to think about thinking.” She gives some simple tips to help you maximize both System 1 and System 2 thinking (she’ll tell you more about the differences between the two in this module and the previous ones).
Some simple tips you’ll receive – all of which are clear and quiet actionable? Don’t multitask when you’re trying to get ideas, turn off notifications during meetings, get some sleep, and eat healthy meals. She also recommends avoiding situations that deplete self-control.
These tips can help you avoid judgment errors that are caused by thinking too fast when you should be thinking slow.
In this section, you will also learn more about common cognitive biases. You’ll learn ways that you can avoid seeking patterns in random events and relying too heavily on trends and stories. Avoiding these biases can help you make stronger decisions.
Improving Decision Quality
Next, you’ll learn more about the REF method, which Salzman refers to as the “intuition referee.” She admits that although intuition can be helpful, it shouldn’t always be trusted. Unfortunately, too many people rely on intuition when it should be taking a back burner to critical thinking.
She recommends the theories of behavioral economists Klein and Kahneman who say that intuition needs three conditions to be reliable – regularity, exposure, and feedback.
This will help you determine whether or not to trust your intuition and what to do instead.
She then goes into detail about how to use counterfactual thinking, which is using systems to uncover potential alternatives to outcomes from past events, and how to overcome dangers of loss aversion.
Critical Thinking Fallacies
I particularly enjoyed this next section, which dealt with some of the most common critical thinking fallacies. You’ll learn the most common mistakes that often come about as a result of relying too heavily on your own experiences – and by jumping to conclusions.
You will also learn more about how to avoid the planning fallacy, which happens when we underestimate the amount of time a project will take. People tend to be overly optimistic, and this can be detrimental in a professional setting.
She teaches learners how to use framing to their advantage, too. Framing is a technique that can help you make more compelling arguments, particularly when you want to frame arguments in a positive light.
Salzman discusses emotional frames in detail, which can be used to enhance both positive and negative framing. You can frame your arguments to match your desired outcome, and you should always be on the lookout for others using frames, too, so that you know whether your own judgments, decisions, and biases are being framed.
Creating the Critical Thinking Culture of Curiosity
The final section of the course deals with creating the critical thinking culture of curiosity. In this section, you’ll learn about some of the common situations that fuel curiosity, including questions that can’t be answered and answers that can’t be questioned. These questions are vital when it comes to fueling the success of your organization.
Finally, Salzman goes on to encourage business leaders to organize a critical thinking workshop. Naturally, you know what you are thinking – but you don’t always know how you are thinking. Arranging a critical thinking workshop can help your team and employees become better thinkers and to be more intuitive when it comes to making decisions.
Last but not least is the conclusion. This section is brief, but provides you with a bonus tip – I’ll be honest, I was a bit disappointed by this so-called “bonus!” I was hoping, in viewing the outline for the course, that the bonus might consist of something that I hadn’t seen yet, but in fact, it was just Salzman encouraging students to download the bonus exercise file.
I will definitely be doing that regardless, but I was optimistic that the bonus information was going to be another tidbit of information.
The Course & The Instructor
The Critical Thinking for Better Judgment and Decision-Making Course is one of many offered in the personal and professional development niches on LinkedIn Learning. The course has been taken by 78,641 students and liked by 6,468. It’s taught by Becki Saltzman, who is a well-established author, speaker, and entrepreneur.
Saltzman describes herself as a “Chief Curiosity Seeker” and founder of Apple Curiosity Lab, working to make engaging online and in-person course content and workshops to assist leaders and their teams. Saltzman has worked hard to help teams tackle their cognitive biases and inspire curiosity for better critical thinking, teaching a number of ACL workshops such as:
- Intro to Applied Curiosity
- Critical Thinking for Better Judgment & Decision Making
- Curiosity Archetypes
- Ideation That Seeds Innovation
- Peak Curiosity: sales & influence
- Extreme Questions: creativity & problem solving
- Brain Bug Bingo (cognitive bias training)
- High Stakes Decision Making™ online Training & Coaching Program
Salzman is a cleared speaker who clearly has a wealth of knowledge in this area. She calls to mind several common situations that are good examples of critical thinking and decision-making, helping to make the content of this course easier to understand and more applicable to daily life.
Major Benefits of Taking This Course
Each section of this course culminates in a helpful chapter quiz – even the introduction! Although I’ve written about the benefits of chapter quizzes before, this course was second to none when it comes to the chapter quizzes.
I love the chapter quizzes – particularly those offered by this course – because they allow you to revisit what you have learned and to make sure you have achieved the stated course objectives. You don’t have to worry about whether you missed a key concept in the class or whether you’re ready to move on to the next module – the chapter quizzes do it for you.
Chapter quizzes are a common feature in LinkedIn Learning classes that have some sort of credential or certificate attached to them, as this one does. However, I’ve never seen such comprehensive, high-quality quizzes before – and I loved taking them in this course. Mind you, you don’t have to take the quizzes in order to move on to the next section, but I highly recommend taking the time to do so.
That way, you’ll be able to know for sure that you have mastered the content in the course. If you get the answer wrong, the quiz will automatically redirect you back to the section in the course where you can find more information and figure out what you missed.
Solid Learning Objectives
This class, like so many other of my favorite classes on LinkedIn Learning, has clear, actionable learning objectives. Personally, I find it incredibly helpful to see these objectives because it gives me greater confidence that the course will be one that I can benefit from.
The learning objectives for this course are as follows:
- Comparing critical and strategic thinking
- Minimizing bad judgments
- Recognizing cognitive bias
- Using counterfactual thinking
- Overcoming loss aversion
- Avoiding logical fallacies
- Creating a culture of critical thinking
In this course, you’ll also cover skills categorized by LinkedIn as team leadership, critical thinking, decision-making, and personal development.
Continuing Education Units Available
If you’re looking to expand your credentials in the field of project management, then this class is one you’re definitely going to want to take. You can get 0.85 professional development units (also known as contact hours) by taking this class.
That’s because LinkedIn Learning is approved by the PMI Authorized Training Partner program, meaning it qualifies for professional development units that can help you get ahead in your career.
If you don’t necessarily care about the Project Management Institute credentials, you can always just download a LinkedIn Learning Certificate. These are available for all classes that are offered on LinkedIn Learning and while they won’t necessarily qualify you for a promotion, they can serve as an excellent boost to your resume, CV, or LinkedIn profile.
Although it seems like there wouldn’t be too much that changes when it comes to decision-making and the way the brain works, Becki Saltzman recently updated her course in July of 2020. You won’t find too many courses that are more recent than that! As a result, you can rest assured that you are accessing some of the most relevant and timely information with all the latest research.
Helpful Q&A Feature
LinkedIn Learning doesn’t include a blatant, easy-to-find review section for any of its courses – something that I view as a major detriment. However, it does make up for that with its helpful question and answer feature.
In some ways, this is superior to a review section in that you’ll find that the instructor and fellow classmates can respond to questions that have been posed. This makes it possible or you to get information in a more authentic way.
Becki Saltzman does a nice job of regularly interacting with her students, answering questions almost as soon as they are posted, according to the timestamp. This was quite reassuring to see, especially when you consider that the course launched quite some time ago.
Exercise Files Included
There is one exercise file for this class. What is an exercise file? This is a supplemental attachment that LinkedIn Learning instructors can choose to include with their courses. Like many classes I’ve taken on LinkedIn Learning, this one comes with a helpful glossary and supplemental packet of information on critical thinking that you can reference either as you are taking the course or as a resource later on.
Access to Learning Groups
When you take this class, you’ll get access to a learning group on LinkedIn called Critical Thinking for Decision Making. It’s designed for any learners who are interested in learning more about decision making as it relates to critical thinking – and who want to connect, share, and collaborate with other learners. To date, this group has nearly 1,500 members. It’s a great resource for candidates who want to learn more about this beneficial yet complex area.
If you like Becki Saltzman’s teaching style, you might want to consider taking another one of her many courses on LinkedIn Learning. To date, the following classes are available:
- Applied Curiosity
- Ideation for Leaders
- Recognizing and Rewarding Your Workers
- Critical Thinking for Improved Judgment & Decision-Making
- Improving Your Judgment for Better Decision-Making
- Decision-Making in High-Stress Situations
You can also read one of her books: Living Curiously: How to Use Curiosity to Be Remarkable and Do Good Stuff or Arousing the Buy Curious: Real Estate Pillow Talk for Patrons & Professionals.
If you’d rather take a course in the personal development/critical thinking niche by another instructor on LinkedIn Learning, consider one of these options:
- Leading the Organization Monthly
- Collaboration Principles and Processes
- Using Questions to Foster Critical Thinking and Curiosity
All of them are top-rated choices for professionals on LinkedIn Learning.
Complaints About the Course
Lack of Review Section
As with all LinkedIn Learning courses, you won’t be able to read reviews from students who have taken the class before. I’m someone who likes to “shop around” for the best option, so for me, this was a bit disheartening. I would have liked to have seen some feedback from past users.
That said, you can always look at the question and answer section of the course. You’ll find common questions from users here, which can give you a good idea of some of the course’s major selling points and pitfalls.
Not a Free Class
Unfortunately, unless you are willing to sign up for a free trial (which of course is only temporary) you will have to pay to take this class on LinkedIn Learning. A LinkedIn Learning membership will cost you an annual fee, the rates of which vary, which can be prohibitive for some students who simply want to take a class here or there online.
Of course, the more classes you take on LinkedIn Learning, the cheaper these rates are, since you are essentially “buying in bulk.” However, if you want a class that won’t cost you a single dime, the Critical Thinking for Better Judgment and Decision-Making course on LinkedIn Learning is, unfortunately, not the one.
Challenging to Download Certificates
Many users report in the question and answer section for the course that it is difficult, if not impossible, to download the final certificate of completion. This is an issue with the LinkedIn Learning platform more than anything else – but it’s still important to note. If you want to be able to get that certificate of completion, you may have to jump through a few extra hoops in order to do so.
Who is the Critical Thinking for Better Judgment and Decision-Making Course on LinkedIn Learning Best For?
Although this course is designed primarily for business owners and leaders, I really think it’s a course that anybody could benefit from. If you want to reframe your mindset and become a more proficient, thoughtful decision-maker, then the Critical Thinking for Better Judgment and Decision-Making course on LinkedIn by Becki Saltzman might be the right choice for you.
You’ll learn how to spot some misleading cognitive biases you might have – and how to craft a better argument. Of course, your decision-making skills will really be taken to the next level, too. There’s plenty to gain and nothing to lose by taking this class – just an hour of your time.
This is one decision that you can rush into making without fully thinking it through – you’ve got to take this class on LinkedIn Learning today!