Enhancing Student Productivity Using a Creativity Tutorial

Enhancing Student Productivity Using a Creativity Tutorial

Monty McNair (TUI University, USA), Caroline Howard (TUI University, USA), Paul Watkins (TUI University, USA) and Indira Guzman (TUI University, USA)
Copyright: © 2009 |Pages: 9
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-198-8.ch128
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Abstract

Survival in the 21st century marketplace often depends on the creativity of organizational employees (Beckett, 1992; Hermann, 1993; Johnson, 1992; Kanter, 1982). Many historians attribute the emergence of the United States (US) as a twentieth century superpower to the creativity of its population (Florida, 2005; Ehrlich, 2007). They warn that the United States may be losing its dominance due to declines in the ability to attract and sustain human capital including the creative talent critical for innovation (Florida, 2004; Florida, 2005; Ehrlich, 2007). In his Harvard Business Review article, America’s Looming Creativity Crisis, Richard Florida of Carnegie Mellon describes the importance of creativity to the wealth of a society: “Today, the terms of competition revolve around a central axis: a nation’s ability to mobilize, attract and retain human creative talent.“ In other words, nations and their citizens depend on the creativity of their residents to ensure their economic prosperity.
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Introduction

“The future belongs to a very different kind of person with a very different kind of mind—creators and empathizers, pattern recognizers and meaning makers. These people—artists, inventors, designers, storytellers, caregivers, consolers, big picture thinkers—will now reap society’s richest rewards and share its greatest joys.” —Dan Pink, A Whole New Mind

Survival in the 21st century marketplace often depends on the creativity of organizational employees (Beckett, 1992; Hermann, 1993; Johnson, 1992; Kanter, 1982). Many historians attribute the emergence of the United States (US) as a twentieth century superpower to the creativity of its population (Florida, 2005; Ehrlich, 2007). They warn that the United States may be losing its dominance due to declines in the ability to attract and sustain human capital including the creative talent critical for innovation (Florida, 2004; Florida, 2005; Ehrlich, 2007). In his Harvard Business Review article, America’s Looming Creativity Crisis, Richard Florida of Carnegie Mellon describes the importance of creativity to the wealth of a society: “Today, the terms of competition revolve around a central axis: a nation’s ability to mobilize, attract and retain human creative talent.“ In other words, nations and their citizens depend on the creativity of their residents to ensure their economic prosperity.

Due to the criticality of creativity, it is imperative that educational institutions help their students to maximize their creative potential. Unfortunately, critics contend that many teachers, in the US and other nations, actually inhibit the creativity of their pupils (Fleith, 2000) and some relate US K-12 education to a demise in student creativity (Craft, 2005). To help students, organizations and nations succeed in an increasingly competitive international arena; educational programs must find ways to help their students realize their creative potential.

This article reports the results of a study using quick, low cost remote creativity training that could be easily used by educational programs to enhance student creativity. Since the study was conducted on the Internet, the creativity training could be readily adopted for the online environment. The study results provide a preliminary indication that implementing a simple, inexpensive, online creativity tutorial might improve student creativity in the online distributed learning environment (McNair, 2008).

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Background

For decades, academics in the IS field have researched using information systems to improve group creativity and productivity (Couger, 1995; Couger, Higgins, & McIntyre, 1993). However, not much research has focused on using information technology to maximize individual cognitive processes (Elam & Mead, 1987; Young, 1983, Nunamaker, Applegate & Konsynski, 1987; Nunamaker, Dennis, Valacich, Vogel, & George, 1991).

Studies in the information systems field on individual creativity have examined the impacts of several types of creativity training on the creative performance (Mead and Elam 1990, Marakas and Elam, 1997, Massetti, 1996, 1998). Some studies have focused on the effects of problem-solving process training (Marakas and Elam, 1997). Other studies, such as the one reported in this paper, have focused on the effect of providing creativity training, including general information on creativity and on problem solving (Massetti, 1996, 1998, McNair, 2008).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Generic creativity tutorial: A rudimentary non-specific instrument tutorial about creativity general knowledge and its benefits.

Creative potential: Ability to raise expression of individual creative abilities and creative performance through creativity training.

Khatena Torrance Creative Perception Inventory (KTCPI): A combination of the Torrance What Kind of Person are You (WKOPAY) and the Khatena Something About Myself (SAM) test, has been used in a variety of settings to identify the innovative self perception of individuals (Khatena and Torrance, 1998). Respondents were categorized as “low”, “medium”, or “high” in creative self-perception based their KTCPI scores.

Innate creativity: Natural ability to express individual creativity in varying degrees by various methods.

Creativity: Unconventional thinking over a considerable span of time on a vague or ill-defined problem in which the results is an “eureka” moment and can be expressed in novel ways, producing a result that has application value.

Eureka Moment: A sudden and unexpected flash of insight, in which the results provide a clear understanding of how to solve a problem.

Online Learning: Learning situations in which the students and instructors communicate via the Internet and World Wide Web usually using an integrated learning environment.

Innovation: The recombination of past ideas, artifacts, and people in a creative manner,

Distance Education: Learning situations in which the students and instructor are located in different localities for at least a portion of the class.

Distributed Learning: Learning situations in which the students and instructor are in different localities. A bit broader than distance education as it can be used to refer to both education and training.

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