Why we should be teaching creativity in higher education

Thursday, May 04, 2017 09:42

Emily Banger by Emily Banger

Education and creativity should go hand in hand, but do they currently? Do the way education systems operate inspire creative thinking across a range of disciples? Does it allow us to innovate for a sustainable global future?

With continuing population growth requiring creative sustainability solutions as well as the introduction of AI learning into workplaces, ensuring creativity in all aspects of learning seems pertinent to the current time

READ MORE: How can data be used in HE to improve it?

As brought home by Gi Fernando, the founder of Freeformers, who spoke at our Accelerating Digital Transformation in Higher Education event recently, machines can learn facts and figures but not creativity and moral reasoning. Therefore, with the imminent introduction of AI into the workforce (see my previous article discussing this here), higher education should focus on creating an incubator for creativity and positive thought to cultivate this unique trait. 


But can creativity be taught? I have seen two education concepts discussed recently online that I believe would revolutionise education by fostering creativity.

Shifting learning practices

Firstly, the concept that lecture and homework time is switched. In a Ted talk by Sal Kan, he discussed making students digest video lecture content at home and having time to complete homework in a lesson with the teacher. This idea would allow class time to be saved for questions, debate and to fully dissect and understand learnings with teachers and peers.

As explored by A Hargadon and B Bechkly, the emphasis on managing creative individuals potentially could be shifted to managing the social context and developing interactive approaches to creativity.


Teaching creativity in higher education

The second concept is the idea that creativity can be taught in higher education. This has been implemented by Buffalo University, who were the first institution to create a centre for studies in creativity.

How this would look in detailed terms would be determined by the institution and the discipline, but the idea that creativity and problem solving can be grown consciously both individually and collectively is a modern one which requires exploration.


From personal experience, creativity when focused on will grow, and when neglected will be underutilised. I believe a creativity course would have given me a head start in my career.  

So let’s start to nurture the unique trait that is creativity.

Read more higher education blogs

Posted in Higher Education