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An Information-Centric View on Decision Making

Author Brett Becker
Abstract Humans are being exposed to consistently increasing volumes of information with time. Excluding emotions it is a subset of this information upon which all decisions are made, and the way this information is interpreted and utilised affects these decisions. Student ability to adeptly interpret and use all information, not just that delivered in academic settings is clearly valuable in making better decisions. The high-level nature of this view incorporates decisions made across all disciplines. This paper presents a perspective on what all students should be taught about the process of interpreting information and making decisions. The main goals are teaching students how to filter, interpret, validate, weigh, reject, utilise and present information in a systematic way, ensuring that the information upon which decisions are made is rationally and logically sound, leading to better decisions regardless of the specific problem at hand or problem domain. This is not a complete pedagogical method but a modular component which can be integrated with existing methods. This perspective is based on the idea that basic decision making can and should be an adaptable and evolutionary tool useful across broad domains, and that all students should be proficient in. This view does not include the teaching of static methods used to solve a specific problem or problem type. The ultimate goal is to benefit the quality of the decision making skills of students in all academic disciplines. Finally, results of a brief survey conducted to give an insight into undergraduate students' abilities to interpret and filter information and the quality of decisions based on that information are presented.
Keywords scientific analysis, decision making, problem solving, cross-disciplinary education, critical thinking
Published In ICEP Proceedings 2008
Date 2008
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