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an elusive beast

I can’t draw so I’m not creative

Richard Hyde explains how creativity is a confidence thing I

’m constantly in awe of how some designers can churn out jaw-droppingly original ideas again and again. They look at complex problems and see things that others don’t see. Their left brain has given their right permission to speak, resulting in exciting treatments for the otherwise mundane. Most

of all, they put genuine emotion and humour on the screen in ways that we all strive to copy. It’s an elusive skill but creativity is at the heart of a modern learning designer’s

role. But when I talk to designers in the field I find that it’s often undervalued, rushed and even skipped as a design stage. Many learning designers (including myself) see creativity as the elephant in the room and we sweat and struggle to define novel solutions in the heated office. Frustration sets in and we revert to a tried and tested design approach. I’m hoping that some of you are nodding to this. Please tell me I’m not alone? So I set out to explore how we learning designers can improve our creativity.

There’s research to look at, there are creative geniuses to study and there are techniques to get creativity back on the storyboard. Let’s take a look.

Does creativity really matter? Oh yes. In fact I’ll stick my neck out and say it matters now more than anything else. “Learners are distracted” is an almost laughable understatement in every organisation we talk to. Research by Rocket Media (2014) on the impatience of the web browsing public suggests what we are dealing with: n If a web site doesn’t load in 5 seconds, 32% of users abandon it; n Users only read up to 20% of web page content; n When watching a video, 30% of users quit it after 30 seconds.

Question 1: School is cancelled and you have the entire day to yourself. What would you do?

Question 2: You are seven years old. School is cancelled and you have the entire day to yourself. What would you do?

Yes, these figures are based on web browsing but I think we can extrapolate this to e-learning. Many of the solutions that Mind Click is asked to create are to address poor completion rates on previous efforts. So we have to stimulate learner curiosity and emotion and re-engage them with learning. The path to this is more creative output and it starts in our heads.

We need to find a different brain Einstein stated that “You can’t solve a problem with the same mind that created it”. This helped him dissect quantum physics, but what was he actually thinking? It seems to me that we must step outside of our normal way of thinking to solve complex problems in more creative ways. Take the study carried out by Zabelina & Robinson 1

on undergraduates. The students were split into two groups and far more original responses were received


e.learning age april 2015

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