I am in the process of creating an eLearning course to help Earth Scientists reassess the critical thinking skills they need to succeed in their chosen Earth Science professions.  I have created three introductory videos to give you an idea of the rationale and course content.

From my own personal experience at college and after 30 or more years of consultancy in the petroleum industry and teaching university and professional geoscience courses, I have come to realise that critical thinking skills are not explicitly taught on most college courses. Of course, some people have gathered the skills along the way and excelled, but a great many more have struggled to get through their college education and continue(d) to struggle in their early professions (myself included!), for lack of a clear understanding of critical thinking.

Critical Thinking is one of those things that “Critical Thinkers” take for granted, and assume everybody must understand (this is a classic bias called the Dunning-Kruger effect – but more of that later!).  They don’t “know that they know” how to think critically, or spend any time “thinking about how they think”.  They just think and solve problems, and assume everybody else must be doing the same.

I have realised now that years ago, when I was an employer in the Earth Science service industry, what I was looking for during an interview was evidence of critical thinking skills.  The ability to frame and solve the problem, even outside your area of expertise.  I graduated with a PhD in Sedimentology and Diagenesis, but one of the first jobs I did was logging and modelling fractures in core, which I had never done in my life!  I had to learn fast!

You have to be able prioritise what has to be done and do the best job in the shortest time.  Domain “knowledge and expertise” is worthless without these other skills.  In many cases, these skills were enough, even without “domain-specific knowledge and expertise”.  Some of our most creative and productive employees didn’t have relevant domain expertise, but they were great learners and problem solvers.  Conversely, some with shining academic records had limited ability to apply themselves to anything outside their comfort zone.

Being a Critical Thinker is what will give you an edge in this increasingly competitive and diverse Earth Science employment market.  That is why the course culminates with a review of your skills portfolio. Hopefully in this course I can guide you to upgrading your “Earth Science Mindware”, and give you the edge that you need to succeed as an Earth Science “problem solver”.

If you would like to become a “Beta Tester” for this course, please let me know in the comments.


“Greg has been absolutely invaluable for inspiration and guidance throughout my studies in geoscience. He is very engaging and is fantastic at getting you to think through a question of your own accord (with pokes in the right direction!) Would highly recommend for anyone who not only wants to dig into their subject but also into their learning process as a whole.” MSc in Engineering Geology

“Having worked with Greg on field development projects and geophysical instruction courses I have been greatly impressed by the infectious enthusiasm and motivational energy which he brings to his work, his broad scope of knowledge and his endless curiousity and ability to master complex topics. Greg has been a valuable and key member of every project on which I have worked with him and I have no hesitation in recommending him wholeheartedly.” Senior Geoscientist – Petroleum Industry Service Company

“I met Greg as a instructor once in a training course for Project Management Program in Vietnam. Beside knowledge and skills he conveyed to me, I also learned from him enthusiasm, professionalism and especially creative and inter-person approach to common issues. It’s was the most exciting course for PM that I ever have! ” Project Manager at PetroVietnam

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