Critical Thinking as a Dimension of Constructivist Learning: Some of the Characteristics of Students of Lower Secondary Education in Croatia

  • Tomislav Topolovčan
  • Milan Matijević
Keywords: new media, constructivist learning, critical thinking, secondary education, students


The aim of this study was to examine the characteristics of the frequency of constructivist learning and its dimensions, including critical thinking, the differences in them with regard to certain demographic characteristics, and correlations with the frequency of use of certain new media in teaching students in the final grade of lower secondary education in Croatia
(N = 703). The results show that students assessed a significantly higher incidence of critical thinking in relation to the other four dimensions of constructivist learning. In respect of every latent dimension of constructivist learning, (all) students with higher grade point averages are inclined towards a higher assessment of the frequency of the personal relevance of learning, critical thinking, and collaborative learning. Girls are more likely to highlight the personal importance of studying, critical thinking, and student negotiation, while there is no difference in the assessments regarding gender in the control of studying and the uncertainty of learning with new media. Students, regardless of where they live, assess the incidence of general
constructivist learning equally, also in regard to each dimension, i.e. the personal relevance of learning, the uncertainty of learning (with new media), critical thinking, shared control, and collaborative learning. The frequent use of new media is associated with the increased incidence of all the dimensions of constructivist learning. An interpretation of the results
indicates that critical thinking is by far the most prominent dimension of  constructivist learning, whereby the gender of students and their grade point average are, to some extent, key factors in the differences in critical thinking, but also in most other dimensions of constructivist learning. This paper explains in detail the didactic implications of its research results.


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