Creativity is usually associated with painters, dancers, and others who fall into the traditional definition of an artist. However, businesses, learners, and content creators can embrace creativity just as much as any artist.
Elearning content creators have the power to produce eLearning experiences that engage their audience and spark their creativity and curiosity. But why should we focus on creativity when designing eLearning courses, and how can we encourage creative thinking through course designs and content?
This post will walk you through definitions of creativity, its importance in content development and business, and suggest a few ways creative thinking can be incorporated into eLearning course development.
The Power of Creativity and Divergent Learning Strategies
Divergent Thinking: If you ask four different content developers to define “creativity”, you’ll most likely get four different answers. One of the most powerful definitions of creativity hones in on the process of “divergent thinking”. This kind of thinking focuses on:
- The reconstruction of old ideas
- Making connections
- Working outside of your comfort zone
- Embracing imagination
Encouraging divergent thinking helps to maintain a learner’s motivation and promotes a sense of meaning in content development. Helping learners generate new ideas fosters their creative-thinking abilities and will help them retain information long-term.
Essential Stakeholders and Creativity: Creative and divergent thinking doesn’t just help individual learners, but can also benefit entire companies and businesses.
Mike Mansbach, president of BlueJeans Network, a videoconferencing service shared his take on creativity to Business News Daily, stating:
“Not only does creative thinking produce … winning sales and marketing campaigns that increase brand appeal to the end-user, but [it] can also help foster a unique company culture that ultimately reflects and encourages creativity within each department.”
A study by Adobe and Forrester Consulting found that 82 percent of companies believe that there is a strong connection between creativity and business results. In fact, according to the report, companies that actively prioritize creative thinking often outperform their competitors in:
- Revenue growth
- Total sales
- Leadership skills
While “divergent thinking” can help businesses and learners alike, there are different levels of creative thinking that eLearning content creators should take into consideration when designing their courses.
Content Developers For Creative Thought
Analysis: Before thinking creatively about something, you first have to understand its basic elements. Analysis provides a solid base for creative thought.
Encourage learners to examine things carefully and practice “close looking” as they move throughout a course. This kind of analysis can be applied to text, data sets, an equation, or an entire lesson plan.
Organization: While one might assume that creative people are naturally scatterbrained, organization is an essential element of creativity.
Before learners can get messy trying out new ideas and hypotheses, they should first organize their thoughts so they can better understand their goals and vision. Providing learners with certain parameters and guidelines might also help them take more creative risks.
Communication: A creative person doesn’t need to dominate the room with their new ideas. Being a good listener and communicating effectively with others are essential when thinking outside of the box.
While completing an eLearning course, learners should be able to ask questions and practice listening to different perspectives.
Learning Services and Creative Instruction
Creative Instruction: Being creative often requires learners to be vulnerable. When a learner is trying out new thoughts and plans, they can easily be discouraged by negativity and unconstructive criticism.
Luckily, course designers and eLearning instructors can help learners be creative. Here are some tips for cultivating a learner’s self-worth:
- Be generous in positive feedback
- Focus on the uniqueness of each learner and embrace a personalized approach to content development
- Hold group or individual check-ins throughout the course where learners can freely express concerns and new ideas.
Questions Without Answers: Socratic or open-ended questions are a great way to get a learner thinking creatively. These kinds of questions help the learners gain perspective, and can even encourage empathy. Here are a few examples:
- What would the world look like if minorities felt more comfortable in the workplace?
- What if technology became an even bigger part of our lives?
- If you saw someone struggling in your office, what would you do?
Giving your learner choices, comparisons and the opportunity to explore new ideas will help them formulate more personally relevant responses.
Content Development For The Future
Creativity might not be something we always understand, but the more we use it, the more we’ll end up having. Tapping into this endless resource can help content creators make powerful and memorable courses, and will ultimately help learners both personally and professionally.
When was the last time you thought creatively about a situation at the workplace? Do you think that creativity could help your business succeed, and why? Share your thoughts with us because as we say, we are all in this together, and together, we learn.