January 22, 2015

In order for your online training to be most effective, you should seek those courses created by instructional designers who include creativity into their finished products.

Creativity, born from the designer’s imagination, is the single most important quality that distinguishes those courses with which your trainees will fully engage during the learning process.

Imagination is the catalyst that drives creativity.

In his book, THE DRAMATIC IMAGINATION, one of America’s greatest 20th Century scenic artists, Robert Edmond Jones, defined that process most appropriately when he wrote, “Imagination is the faculty for realization.”

No one can create anything meaningful unless their imagination can foresee that created object or concept already realized in their own mind.

Charlotte Jirousek’s “Art, Design and Visual Thinking, (a Cornell University interactive textbook) defines “creativity” extremely well:

“Creativity is a quality that is highly valued, but not always well understood. Those who have studied and written about it stress the importance of a kind of flexibility of mind. Studies have shown that creative individuals are more spontaneous, expressive, and less controlled or inhibited. They also tend to trust their own judgement and ideas– they are not afraid of trying something new.

A common misunderstanding equates creativity with originality. In point of fact, there are very few absolutely original ideas. Most of what seems to be new is simply a bringing together of previously existing concepts in a new way. Psychologist and author Arthur Koestler referred to this merging of apparently unrelated ideas as bissociation. The fact that creative thinking is based on a knowledge of previous work in one’s field is the justification for teaching the history and foundations of a given field as a resource for future research and creative work. It is possible to develop ones ability to think intuitively and creatively. . . .

Thus creativity is the ability to see connections and relationships where others have not. The ability to think in intuitive, non-verbal, and visual terms has been shown to enhance creativity in all disciplines. It has also been shown that the creative process is very similar in all fields.”

Online learning can be engaging. It need not be simply a litany of factual information. It is capable of inviting the learner into the learning process. The instructional designer’s use of creativity will be the key.

As Robert W. Weinberg tells us in his book, “CREATIVITY – BEYOND THE MYTH OF GENIUS, “. . . ‘creative’ refers to novel products of value . . .”

Your key will be to recognize those products.

— Bill Walton, co-Founder, ITC Learning (Monday & Wednesday)