Based on the work of Kirby Ferguson, it can be stated that the concept of creativity arises not out of nothingness; rather, it is the result of applying ordinary mental tools within the mind onto existing materials in order to produce new results (Vogel et al., 2011). In order to better understand such a concept, it is important to first know what the various elements of creativity are and how they impact the creative process.
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The elements of creativity are composed of the following:
Cognitive – Cognitive elements within the creative process refer to an individual’s basic knowledge regarding particular processes (whether generalized or specializing in a specific field), their attraction towards complexity (e.g. their innate ability to analyze and combine ideas into new areas or dimensions), their general open-mindedness towards new discoveries and finally their awareness of the creative process itself.
Affective – Affective elements on the other hand refer to an individual’s intrinsic level of curiosity, willingness to explore, their ability to take risks and their general independence towards following generally accepted processes and procedures in order to attempt something new.
Combined with the cognitive elements of creativity this in effect enables an individual to examine current processes from multiple angles and actually desire to implement new methods which could potentially improve such processes.
Based on the study of De Miranda, Aranha & Zardo (2009) which examines the development of creativity within individuals over time, it can be stated that as an individual’s cognitive and affective elements grow so too does their ability to explore and become more creative (De Miranda, Aranha & Zardo, 2009).
Personal – The personal aspect of creativity is slightly different in that it refers to an individual’s innate talent with a particular type of skill set as compared to something that was acquired over time.
When it comes to an individual’s personal perspective on creativity, this often takes the form of new concepts being applied to new experiences in order to create new outputs as compared to situations without sufficient creativity wherein new concepts/ideas are actually made to fit onto old theories which often results in inefficient or ineffective practices (Vogel et al., 2011).
Motivational – The motivational aspect of the creative process is related to an individual’s drive towards a particular type of project, assignment, job or piece of work that they are currently working on.
The desire to design, create and enhance in this particular case is not due to external influences but rather as a direct result of an internal desire which manifests itself as an aspect of the creative process. ( ) explains this by stating that creativity is not something that can be forced, rather, it is an internal process that develops as a direct result of the desire of a person to develop or enhance something they are working on.
Thus, the motivational aspect of creativity is one of the most important elements since it acts as the spark which lights the fire of creativity in the first place.
Applying Logical and Creative Problem Solving to Real World Problems
When examining the work of Demirkan & Hasirci (2009) on creativity and its various applications, it was noted that what we know as creativity at the present may have arisen as an evolutionary response to problems encountered by early humans on a daily basis (Demirkan & Hasirci, 2009).
Creativity, as described by Demirkan & Hasirci (2009), can be considered a thought process that is meant to address problematic situations in an alternative manner as compared to a more straightforward approach that became ineffective (Demirkan & Hasirci, 2009). This manifests itself in various stages in a person’s life and attains its zenith during a person’s adult years when they become 30 to 35 years old.
Logical and creative problem solving is thus limited not only by life experience, which is inversely proportional to age, but is also limited by a person’s inherent set of skills when it comes to particular problems (Holm-Hadulla & Hofmann, 2012).
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For example, an individual that utilizes logic and creativity when it come to resolving a problem related to electrical engineering, may not have the same level of creative thinking when it comes to resolving an issue involving computer graphics or architecture (Holm-Hadulla & Hofmann, 2012).
Thus, logical thinking and creativity should not be considered applicable to all cases; rather, it would be more accurate to consider such factors being utilized in two distinct categories, namely: general experiences and specific knowledge (Joo, Song, Lim & Yoon, 2012).
General experiences is the application of logic and creativity on daily experiences, this can come in the form of daily social interactions, handling everyday tasks, as well as other actions that are normally associated with the daily activities of a normal person (Joo, Song, Lim & Yoon, 2012).
Specific knowledge on the other hand refers to the application of logic and creativity on actions/events that entail the application of unique pieces of knowledge that are applicable to individuals within specific fields (Lemons, 2005).
This can entail the application of logic and creativity in aspects related to solving problems in architecture, computer programming, engineering and other such activities that require extensive knowledge within a particular field.
Hypothesized Application of Creative Problem Solving
Hypothesis: Creativity is an essential part of the learning process due to the way in which it examines and tries to improve upon knowledge that has already been internalized.
When it comes to the application of creativity, it is important to note that there are three essential elements that are present which result in the creative process. These elements are composed of the following concepts:
Copy – the element of copying within creativity is actually a manifestation of the learning process wherein people “copy” the relevant information they need and internalize it for later use. This internalization is an essential aspect of the process of creativity since it in effect acts as the initial blueprint from where all future ideas stem from.
Transform – the element of transformation occurs when information that was initially copied and internalized is examined and thought of in new ways. While it has yet to be applied into anything specific, the information is no longer the same as it once was since it has been modified based on other perspectives and internalized concepts.
Combine – the process of combination involves utilizing the transformed knowledge within a real life situation which in effect creates a new solution as compared to merely utilizing the knowledge in the same way in order to create the same solution.
What must be understood is that creative problem solving can actually be utilized as a tool to improve learning by enabling an individual to perceive distinct problems from multiple angles. The inherent problem with linear methods of learning, which presents information in a straightforward fashion, is that it encourages people to think in only a certain way.
While this may seem like a perfectly normal aspect of learning, the fact is that multifaceted approach is a far more effective means of learning and producing ideas as compared to a linear method of understanding.
Linear learning results in an individual perceiving lessons in only a certain fashion and applying them in narrowly specific way, the inherent problem with this is that when presented with a situation that entails out of the box thinking, those who have been indoctrinated into a linear form of learning usually are not able to develop the necessary solutions to resolve a new issue.
A multifaceted approach on the other hand utilizes focuses on incorporating creative problem solving skills at the very inception of the lesson (Chen & Chen, 2012). This means that learners are presented with multiple approaches to choose from and are guided towards choosing which option they perceive is the best course of action.
By utilizing this particular method of learning, learners are thus able to adapt to different situations and are able to incorporate lessons that they learned into new situations they encounter (MacLaren, 2012). Evidence of improved learning outcomes when incorporating creative problem solving in the learning process can actually be seen in the case of the U.S. system of education (Livingston, 2010).
At the present, funding for public schools within various U.S. districts is inherently connected to the performance of students in tests as well as in national tests administered by the government. Schools that have underperforming students based on government standards actually receive reduced funding due to what is perceived as a “failure “in the teaching ability of the school.
It is due to this that public schools within the U.S. often implement a linear militaristic form of education wherein students are taught how to answer tests yet are not given the necessary tools to properly understand the lessons behind arriving at the answers (Chen & Chen, 2012).
As a result of such actions, it has been determined by numerous studies that a vast percentage of the present day generation of students within the U.S. public school system have been formed into nothing more than “parrots” who repeat answers and lack the sufficient ability to apply the lessons taught into actual situations (Livingston, 2010).
On the other end of the spectrum, private schools within the U.S. implement an entirely different method of teaching which does not utilize a linear militaristic form of teaching, rather they utilize a multifaceted approach wherein they incorporate creative problem solving to various lessons and help students understand the processes behind the lessons being taught to them and how to properly apply such lessons within actual real world scenarios.
The end result is that students from private schools in the U.S. have been shown to be far smarter and far more capable as compared to their counterparts in the public school system,
Based on what has been presented in this paper so far, it can be stated that creativity is an essential part of the learning process due to the way in which it examines and tries to improve upon knowledge that has already been internalized.
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