This study examined the effect of an online guided independent study on critical reasoning skills. Twenty-one first-semester Master of Occupational Therapy students completed an online assignment designed to facilitate application of the Occupational Performance Process Model (Fearing & Clark) and kept reflective journals. Data from the journals were analyzed in relation to the three sets of questions, question type and results of the Watson-Glaser Critical Thinking Appraisal (WGCTA). This assignment appeared to be effective for enhancing awareness and use of critical reasoning skills. Differences in patterns of critical reasoning between students with high and low WGCTA scores and results of an inductive analysis of the journal entries are discussed. Future research investigating the types of feedback that effectively facilitate development of critical reasoning and whether students with high and low WGCTA scores might benefit from different types of instruction and/or feedback is recommended. Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.