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Creative thinking: foster it through eLearning

Creative thinking: do we actually need it?

Have you ever thought about the present business environment and had a broad perspective on its characteristics? If you ask us, we’d say that it’s characterized by tremendous change and a necessity to develop adaptability skills. And how can you effectively respond to this constantly changing environment? By being able to generate innovative solutions to challenges constantly.  But innovation is impossible in the absence of creativity. So, in our opinion, the answer is yes, we really need creative thinking in our daily lives, both professionally and personally. 

According to the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), creative thinking is “the way of thinking that leads to the generation of valuable and original ideas” and “can be applied not only to contexts related to the expression of imagination, such as creative writing or the arts but also to other areas where the generation of ideas is functional to the investigation of issues” (source). In other words, you can and shall use creativity in the generation of ideas that can translate into innovative solutions to professional challenges and to the above-mentioned constant change. 

Steps towards developing creative thinking

According to a study article grounded on a recent research partnership between the Ontario Tech University and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the journey towards creative thinking comprises a few steps, defined as actions. The first one is inquiring, meaning learners can make connections to other concepts they already know, which results in an effective start in the creative process. From students to adult learners engaging in professional training programs, being able to make connections to already existing knowledge, and developing further information based on that knowledge is effective both for the gathering of information and for its consistency. 

The second step would be of imagining, where learners generate and play with ideas. There are many ways in which you can do this in an online learning environment, using a learning management system. For example, you can design real-life scenarios and stimulations that trigger learners’ curiosity, giving them a safe environment where they can observe how innovative problem-solving approaches generated from their creative thinking lead to different results.  

The third step is that of doing, where learners can produce valuable outputs that are personally novel. You put together pieces of knowledge, you played with the process of generating ideas, observed around you, and now it’s time to implement some action, isn’t it? 

Using an LMS, you can do that by encouraging learners to share their ideas during online discussions such as live-streaming sessions or through communities of practice where they can have brainstorming sessions, making the most of both creative thinking and collaborative learning. 

The fourth step is that of reflecting, where learners get to contemplate their ideas, their possible outcomes, and the process of creative thinking itself. An example of this is given in the before-mentioned study:

 “For example, midway through a course, learners could reflect on their learning thus far and identify questions or areas that are still puzzling or fuzzy and wish to explore during the rest of the course. Students complete a final reflective analysis of their overall learning at the end of the course.” (source)

Thus, to sum it up, inquiring-imagining-doing-reflecting, that’s a way to get your creative thinking process going. And why would you do that? Let’s see a few benefits of creativity, to end this article as we started it. That is, promoting creative thinking. 🙂

  • Creativity is a pre-requisite for innovation
  • Creativity promotes thinking outside the box and problem solving
  • Creativity encourages us to be life-long learners
  • Creativity promotes risk-taking iterations
  • Creativity improves your ability to focus 
  • Creativity is multi-disciplinary

Have we convinced you yet? If yes, go get creative thinking a try, there are so many ways in which you can develop it and turn it into your asset. 

Some (final) thoughts

If you want to approach creative thinking through an eLearning platform, drop us a line, and we’ll be happy to come up with a plan together.

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