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Critical Thinking

This course is about critical thinking—what it is, the different kinds of reasoning, identifying assumptions, and analyzing arguments. You will develop the ability to analyze complex intelligence problems by taking charge of your thinking and apply it to your work.

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About This Course

In the world of intelligence analysis, critical thinking skills that are integral to an analyst’s success in tackling hard intelligence problems.

The most successful intelligence analysts can identify assumptions, analyze arguments, draw relevant conclusions, and ultimately applying these skills to intelligence analysis.

This course, part of the Intelligence Analysis Fundamentals micro-specialization, will demystify, discuss, and provide application techniques for critical thinking in an intelligence analysis context. Learners will draw connections to their work experience by analyzing and critiquing case studies.

What you'll learn:

    • How to utilize the eight elements of critical thinking
    • How to differentiate between inductive, deductive, and abductive reasoning
    • How to identify assumptions that are implicit or explicit
    • How to graphically represent an argument
    • How to analyze an argument

This course provides 1 CEUs. This course also aligns to the Defense Intelligence Agency's (DIA) Certified Defense All-Source Analyst (CDASA) certification Body of Knowledge Topic Area 4 - Creative and Critical Thinking.


The only requirement is to think about your thinking during the course.

Course Staff

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Dr. J. Keith Dunbar

Dr. J. Keith Dunbar is a former U.S. Navy intelligence officer whose career culminated with a tour of duty at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) as a training program manager for its Academy of Defense Intelligence. Dr. Dunbar is a learning strategy, leadership development, integrated talent management, instructional design, e-learning, and content delivery expert. He has taught intelligence analysis courses for the Navy and DIA.

Dr. Dunbar’s academic credentials include a Doctorate degree in Education from the University of Pennsylvania, a Master's degree in Strategic Intelligence from the National Intelligence University, and a Bachelor's degree in naval and political science at the University of New Mexico. He has also completed graduate certificate programs from the executive education program at the UPenn Wharton School of Business in business leader engagement, learning technology, and organizational leadership.

Frequently Asked Questions

What web browser should I use?

The FedLearn platform works best with current versions of Chrome, Firefox or Safari, or with Internet Explorer version 9 and above.

See our list of supported browsers for the most up-to-date information.

Who can take the course?

Anyone who has an interest in improving their critical thinking skills.

Is there a test?

Yes. There are knowledge checks in each lesson that you have to get at least 80% correct to pass the course.