Creativity: Can it be taught online?

Can you learn creativity online? Before we begin, let us define creativity and its scope. For the purpose of the article, we will limit creativity to its conceptual forms and theoretical aspects. We will consider creativity as a useful and effective response, an unusual answer (or answers) to a problem. We will consider creativity as defined by originality and effectivity. (Mark Runco et al).

Creativity is complex. You would have seen images of read about individuals painting or composing great pieces of art in isolation. Many of the creative greats have preferred working without distractions, creation does happen in seclusion. But does the same extend to learning creativity?

The theoretical aspects of what academicians define as mini-C (minor creativity) can be achieved by oneself. For an example, one can learn the basics of painting or writing online. But what about the feedback and evaluation, which is necessary for a creative process?

The benefits of online education are obvious. It makes education much more accessible and affordable. By its very nature, it is imparted through objective questions and answers. However, creativity demands divergent thinking. Instead of one right answer, problems demand many ‘almost right’ answers. And in this part, online education can be found deficient.

Where online courses help is in improving access, as in the geographical reach, and also in terms of affordability. Typically, as these lectures are pre-recorded, they involve a one-time cost spread over participants. The objective type of answers can be tabulated, results used to evaluate the performance.

Online courses typically offer a quick fix with an eye on the job market. While this serves the majority of college-aged students who are searching for additional credits, it can leave half-prepared those who want to make serious careers in those subjects.

Studies have also shown that a higher percentage of students drop out of online courses. Students in online courses have been demonstrated to perform substantially worse than students in traditional in-person courses.

We at Mode21 offer courses that familiarise you with creativity, its theoretical aspects and potential. And we also offer counselling to students who want to pursue creative careers.