Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (SPAIN)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN21 Proceedings
Publication year: 2021
Pages: 8760-8765
ISBN: 978-84-09-31267-2
ISSN: 2340-1117
doi: 10.21125/edulearn.2021.1763
Conference name: 13th International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 5-6 July, 2021
Location: Online Conference
Nowadays, university engineering students need a variety of technical competences to solve complex problems and to face economic, social and environmental challenges. In addition, technological solutions must be flexible and adaptable to each context, to achieve this goal, creative skills are crucial in university studies. Actually, creativity is in the top five of the World Economic Forum Rank: skills needed in 2020.

Since 2020, a multidisciplinary team of professors have been working together and supported by two different projects, one funded by the Erasmus program (2019-2022) and the other one by our university innovation fund (2020-2021), towards improving creativity learning in different subjects and engineering university studies.

Both projects are focused on creative skills involving professors and students. University professors play a key role to improve creativity among students, however it is very relevant to know their needs and barriers to achieve these issues, and find out their motivations and knowledge in this area. On the other hand, students are not used to developing their creative skills during university studies and they have a lack of experience and use of methods or techniques.

One of the first project´s step has been to identify how creativity is understood among professors and students. In this way, two surveys were conducted, one to each group. All participants, professors and students, were enrolled in engineering academic programs during the 2020-21 course.

On the one hand, the professor´s survey was focused on knowing the needs of teachers in this area and their expertise. In total 25 professors have participated in the survey, it had two rounds, using the Delphi method with a panel of experts to guide and carry out the questionnaire according to the analysis of the responses in each round.

On the other hand, students’ survey has been conducted at the beginning of each semester during the 2020-21 course. In regard to the engineering student group, 400 surveys were collected. Questions were included to identify their knowledge in creativity and other questions to evaluate the importance of this competence in other academic activities for the students.

Summarizing the main research findings of the analysis, professors need more training, tools and resources in creativity, and they consider creativity skills have great potential to improve student aptitudes during their university studies in other fields. These findings are completed with student opinion, they show a low competence in creativity techniques and methodologies, but at the same time, they recognize creativity skills are important to improve their future employment.

Considering students and professors' educational context, the next step was designing a learning environment to improve creativity skills. The main goal is working in an open online access platform to students autonomous learning. The platform can host tools and resources, best practices, etc., and students can manage it themselves and study in their own time. In a complementary way, professors will access an online training program to guide students in this non-formal learning.

The last step will be to test the learning process and integrate it into each subject, with the aim of assessing the creativity skills of the students involved.
Creativity, engineering studies, non-formal learning, soft skills.