About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN19 Proceedings
Publication year: 2019
Pages: 8852-8857
ISBN: 978-84-09-12031-4
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2019.2200
Conference name: 11th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 1-3 July, 2019
Location: Palma, Spain
Global developments in energy transition, digitalization, population growth and food supply ask for other knowledge and skills than is traditionally taught in education (Richards, 2010). Attention for creativity and innovation skills is asked for, besides focus on the three R’s: reading, writing and arithmetic (Dede, 2010). In many countries, the importance of creativity in education has been recognized, with an increased attention for the topic in educational policy, school curricula, school environments and the connection of the schools with the industry (Harris & De Bruin, 2018).

Also in a Bachelor of Engineering, the need was felt for developing creative skills. Outcomes of students’ projects could become more innovative. A multidisciplinary approach seems to be the way to teach and learn creativity, in line with what Haller (2014) suggests:
“Rather than looking for one special ingredient, the magic pill we can take that makes us creative; we may want to ask what confluence of factors leads us to become creative in a specific domain. There is no magic pill, no Holy Grail, no one brain area, no one personality, or one way to solve a problem [….].We need to stop looking for the single Holy Grail and to start looking for the multiple ingredients that creativity is comprised of.”

For the module Creativity, 12 workshops were developed, coming from a variety of disciplines as psychology, arts, engineering, theatre sports and network theory. 25 students of the minor Technology to Create at a university of applied sciences signed up for the module. During the module, a logbook is kept, curriculum documents are analyzed, interviews and evaluations are held and the final reports are assessed on their innovative output. Various guest lecturers added their expertise to the module, which was valued widely. Students liked the module Creativity with an average grade of 6.1 (out of 10). The most valued workshop was TRIZ, a creative problem solving method mostly used in an engineering environment. The least valued workshop was critical thinking. 62% of the students indicated that they grew in creativity throughout the course. 70% of the students thought they added something innovative to their end product. The module Creativity did not result in more innovative aspects in the final product of the projects, according to the lecturers (de Vries and Velthuijsen, 2016).

This might be explained by several reasons:
1. It could be that students are so used to the educational system of being assessed on gained knowledge, that they simply could not deal with the new educational ‘paradigm’ of a multidisciplinary perspective on Creativity and how to use it.
2 The projects were too clear in demanded outcome, so there was not much need to develop innovative skills.
3. Students indicated that there was no relation between the workshops and the rest of the curriculum, so no transfer could take place.
4. The concept of innovation could have been interpreted differently by either students or lecturers.
5. It could also be that the multidisciplinary aspect was not translated well enough in the workshops at stake.

More research is needed to find out how to implement modules in creativity in existing curricula. A multidisciplinary approach seems a promising way to develop innovative skills for students, but more emphasis on transfer is needed.
Higher education, multidisciplinarity, teaching creativity.