The EARTH study will generate evidence on the usefulness of abductive reasoning in promoting students’ complex thinking and hypothesis generation abilities. It will also provide insight on how educators can promote abductive reasoning among students and help them think more complex. This preparation will create future professionals who can conceptualize, manage, and resolve complex, real-world problems. The development of reasoning tools focused on abductive reasoning could later be tested and used to promote clinical reasoning among a variety of health professional students.
The evidence that the EARTH study will generate will not only be important to postsecondary students, but will also be useful for all learners. Since abductive reasoning is linked to improved brain activation and cognitive development, it may be useful in child development and may even enhance children’s ability to solve complex tasks. The same could be applied to a societal level, where teams of professionals may be tackling complex societal challenges from interdisciplinary perspectives. For example, the complex task of integrating refugee orphans into Canadian society can be examined from sociological, psychological, health, legal, scientific, and engineering perspectives. The EARTH study findings can be useful for postsecondary education and for elementary education where teachers may realize the importance of abductive reasoning and may integrate it into students’ learning to prepare a future generation of smart and complex thinkers with the tools to tackle complex challenges.