Course Description

This course covers what everybody should know about how reasoning is put together.

It is intended for anyone engaged in knowledge work, whether in government, professions, business or academia. Almost all such work involves reasoning, but few people have had much explicit training in the relevant concepts, principles and skills. Consequently, most have only a hazy grasp of how reasoning really works, even if they have very strong expertise in their own field. This holds them back in visible and (often) invisible ways.

Learning how reasoning is structured will strengthen your ability to:

  1. Identify the reasoning in documents or presentations by others
  2. Evaluate that reasoning, identifying strengths, weakness and assumptions
  3. Make reasonable judgements and decisions based on a thorough and fair assessment of relevant arguments
  4. Generate, organise and "stress test" your own reasoning
  5. Make a clear and compelling case in written document or presentation.

Satisfaction Guarantee

We stand behind our courses with a 100%, no-questions-asked guarantee. If you enrol and aren't happy just let us know and we'll process a full refund immediately.

"This is great fun! I'm really enjoying it! Bite-size enough to progress in small bits of time I have available. And really enjoying the humor! Not to mention, I'm learning stuff too!"
- K., Policy Manager, Victorian Government

What the course covers

The structure of reasoning is a very large topic, which can become highly technical and arcane. This course syntheses the most essential and practical knowledge into a convenient package designed for people who use reasoning intensively in their work. Topics covered include:

  1. The basic elements involved in all reasoning
  2. How the elements combine to form complex reasoning patterns
  3. Guidelines for uncovering unstated elements, including hidden assumptions
  4. Tips for identifying critical gaps and weaknesses.
  5. How to display complex reasoning in simple diagrams
  6. How to use various software tools to lay out reasoning

Learning this material lays a foundation for advanced skills covered in other van Gelder & Monk courses.


The content of this course was developed by Dr. Tim van Gelder, based on extensive experience teaching such material for over twenty years at university level and in training provided for many large organisations. Contact Tim to discuss theory, or applications of this material outside the course environment.

The course manager is Sujai Thomman. Contact Sujai with any problems, queries or suggestions. Alternatively, post your issue in the Discussion forum within the course.

vG&M Team

van Gelder & Monk courses are developed and taught by our team collaborating in various combinations.Dr. Tim van Gelder is a philosopher and cognitive scientist with expertise in reasoning and critical thinking. He is a founder of, and a Principal Consultant with, van Gelder & Monk; a Principal Fellow (Associate Professor) at the University of Melbourne; and Foreign Advisor, Critical and Creative Thinking Education, to the Ministry of Education, China. He has provided consulting and training services to many large organisations. He is known around the world for his work in critical thinking and the development of methods and tools for improving reasoning. Dr. Richard de Rozario is an applied epistemologist specialising in risk. He is a principal Consultant with van Gelder & Monk. He has worked in areas such as risk analysis, business analysis and schedule optimisation, and taught hundreds of workshops in related areas. Richard studied computer information systems in the USA and holds a post-graduate diploma in Market Modelling from Swinburne University, as well as a PhD in Applied Ontology from the University of Melbourne. Sujai Thomman is an Associate with van Gelder & Monk and our general manager of online learning. He holds degrees in economics, politics and Chinese, and is himself a voracious consumer of online learning in various formats.

Course curriculum

  • 1


    • About this course

  • 2

    The Reasoning App

    • Download the Reasoning App

  • 3


    • Deeper Dive

    • Quiz - Reasoning

    • Feedback

  • 4

    The Basic schema

    • Deeper Dive

    • Quiz - Basic Schema

    • Feedback

  • 5

    The CASE Schema

    • One Minute View - CASE Schema

    • Deeper Dive

    • Quiz - CASE Schema

    • Feedback

  • 6

    Exercise Set 1

    • Exercise Set 1

  • 7

    Objections and Counter-evidence

    • One Minute View - Objections

    • Deeper Dive

    • Quiz - Objections and Counter-Evidence

    • Feedback

  • 8


    • One Minute View

    • Deeper Dive

    • Quiz - Sub-Arguments

    • Feedback

  • 9


    • One Minute View

    • Deeper Dive

    • Quiz - Chaining

    • Feedback

  • 10


    • One Minute View

    • Deeper Dive

    • Quiz - Bridges

    • Feedback

  • 11

    Missing Bridges (Hidden Assumptions)

    • One Minute View

    • Deeper Dive

    • Quiz - Missing Bridges

    • Feedback

  • 12

    Longer Bridges

    • One Minute View

    • Video - Soil Carbon (20s)

    • Deeper Dive

    • Quiz - Longer Bridges

    • Feedback

  • 13

    The Rabbit Rule

    • Deeper Dive

    • Q&A - Rabbit Rule

    • Quiz - Rabbit Rule

  • 14

    Rabbit Rule II

    • Coming soon

  • 15

    Objections to Inferences

    • Coming soon

  • 16

    Deductive Reasoning

    • Coming soon

  • 17

    Inductive Reasoning

    • Coming soon


5 star rating

Felicia Hellman

The course was excellent. I especially appreciated your explanations of arguments that not only have visible fallacies but are also invalid arguments because...

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The course was excellent. I especially appreciated your explanations of arguments that not only have visible fallacies but are also invalid arguments because of the structure. Like the feminist theory example. Very powerful for combatting unsound arguments or explaining it to others. Thank you!

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