Osgoode Professional Development (OsgoodePD) is a world leader in continuing education, providing lifelong learning opportunities to legal professionals from Canada and around the world. As part of the renowned Osgoode Hall Law School, OsgoodePD offers the most comprehensive range of law school lifelong learning programs in the country.
OsgoodePD was looking for new and innovative content to complement their core curriculum. Specifically, they wanted to introduce training to help lawyers build their critical-thinking, decision-making and problem-solving skills across a range of professional activities, including litigation, client services and counsel interactions. The school required a specialized approach that met its unwavering commitment to quality and to education that links theory with practice.
Our team set out to create a learning experience that achieved maximum impact in a minimal amount of time. To better understand the unique learning needs of individuals in the legal field, we interviewed several subject matter experts, including legal counsel members, and built a model of decision making and problem solving from a critical thinking perspective, refined specifically for application in legal contexts.
We developed two interactive workshops that not only engaged participants in practicing critical thinking skills, but also empowered them to make better strategic decisions in a variety of settings. The training was designed to leverage cognitive rewards, such as self-awareness, improved intuition and confidence – to encourage continued engagement in the learning experience.
Participants left the workshops with a range of cognitive thinking tools and a deep understanding of solution-focused decision-making techniques.
OsgoodePD’s critical thinking program has now been running for four years and continues to receive praise from participants, who describe it as “thoughtful”, “engaging” and “fun”. One participant lauded the program as an experience that “…makes you ‘think about thinking’ and disrupts your status quo in the best possible way!”
To date, a wide range of professionals has benefitted from the training sessions, including lawyers, paralegals, students, crown attorneys and sole practitioners. OsgoodePD’s critical thinking program exemplifies the unique and innovative approach to education that has helped the school to maintain its stronghold as a leader in the field of lifelong learning.
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