I have been enjoying absorbing the first lecture in a recent MOOC I am involved with through NovoEd, called Creativity: Music to My Ears. It started this week and the instructor, Tina Seeling from Stanford University shared that her ultimate goal is to help students come up with the big ideas and bring them to life. She shared a story about writing her book, inGenius: A Crash Course on Creativity and how it went through many drafts because she didn’t just want to write just another book on creativity. So instead she chose to look at the creative process and how to bring ideas to life. In the top right we find her model which she calls, “The Innovation Engine.”
As she shared this model with us she reminded us that we all began our creative journeys many years ago with our child imaginations. Over the last 30 years or so (for me and what I will admit to) my imaginative ability has dwindled and brought me to where I am today. Why is that she asks?
Well in school we are often asked questions with one correct answer. She gave the example of 5 + 5 = ? So the more we go in school the more we are conditioned for questions like this. The questions might become more difficult but they are still factual and only have one correct answer. So they always look at every problem through this lens.
Tina shared that creative people often look at problems through different lenses and reframe the problem. This is key for creative thinking. There isn’t always one right answer. So instead of teaching 1st graders what is 5 + 5 = ? We could teach them what is ? + ? = 10. How many more answers are there to this problem? Yes. An infinite number.
I loved how Tina then says, “notice how the answer isn’t baked into the question that you asked!” I wonder how prescriptive our eLearning is sometimes to make sure that the learner can easily accomplish the objectives. But students being asked these types of questions are critical to cultivate creativity. She then says that if we don’t “question the questions you are asking then you are not going to come up with innovative solutions!”
She reminds us that this step is so crucial because it is important in framing and reframing problems as it is a way to increase your imagination. Take this image below from MC Escher. Here we are challenged to look at things from different perspectives. Are we looking at ducks, fish, earth, sky, etc.
What do you think? Are you thinking creatively with your eLearning? Do you have a prescriptive way that you always bring to the table with your client? What about your experiences that you design? Are the engaging discussion questions very factual or are students asked to express their opinions? Are diverse answers welcomed and shared? There are so many ways to get our students to think more creatively in our eLearning experiences, but something is often blocking us from doing that isn’t it?
In the next post I will discuss what Tina shares about creativity and how important it is for us to connect and combine ideas with a very tasty analogy 🙂