Creative Thinking Strategies

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 3.14.01 PM

image source

At the top of Bloom’s Taxonomy is creating. Getting students creating in the classroom involves them in synthesizing information in a novel way and this “ . . process of discovery involved in creating something new appears to be one of the most enjoyable activities any human can be involved in” (Csikszentmihalyi,1996, page 113).

Really , it’s a win-win.

Win # 1 As teachers we need to get students engaging in activities that require the elements of metacognition – planning monitoring and evaluating – and by adding a learning activity that involves an active approach we can achieve the highest impact on learning (David-Lang, J. 2013).

Win #2 Having students engaging in something that makes them feel good “ (taps ) into student’s emotions can inspire them to put forth their greatest potential” (Barkley, 2010, page 35).

Before we examine at the various learning strategies let’s take a moment to see what creative thinking looks like. Here is a table that looks at the differences between critical and creative thinking.

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 1.07.28 PMimage source

To facilitate creative thinking in the classroom, it is important that we create a safe learning environment so students will be willing to take risks as they explore multiple possibilities. Let the students know that divergent thinking creates feelings of ambiguity but is a vital part of the process for “. . .when people are open to different views, they will endure an unclear situation for the moment in order to avoid jumping to conclusions and making decisions too soon. In fact, this is beneficial for the quantity and quality of ideation” (Tsai, K., 2015, para 17).

Below is a short video that takes a look at the divergent thinking that is needed when being creative.



Lets take a look at some of the strategies we can use to get students engaged with creative thinking. Here is a wonderful digital presentation done by a previous PDIP student on poster sessions.

Key points for poster sessions are:

  • Work with students to determine topics and design parameters
  • Have a marking rubric

For example, for an online perinatal course for RNs students (either individually or as a group) would work with their instructor to decide which post partum patient teaching subject they would like to make a poster on. The intended audience would be for the woman and her family. Posters would be exhibited on the day of the hands on workshop.

Another great project would be to use a variation of role playing using digital storytelling. In the example of the online perinatal course, students could present a birth story through the woman and her family’s, the nurse’s, or the primary care provider’s eyes. This would provide the opportunity for reflective critical thinking as the students would “ . . . experience the emotional and intellectual responses . . .” (Barkley 2010, page 232) of the people involved with a birth.

Another activity that could be used is the creation of a class book. This is from Barkley (2010) SET 21. Student could volunteer to submit assignments for an online class book.

These are a few ideas I have about integrating creative learning into an online perinatal course. How are you going to incorporate creative thinking in your classroom?


Barkley, E. F. (2010). Student Engagement Techniques – A Handbook for College Faculty. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1996). Creativity: Flow and the psychology of discovery and invention. New York: Harper/Collins Retrieved from:

David-Lang, J. (2013) The Main Idea current education book summaries: Visible Learning for Teachers: Maximizing Impact on Learning, Hattie, J., 2012 retrieved from:

How Does Creative Thought Differ from Critical Thought? (2015) Learning and Teaching Centre at Macquarie University Retrieved from:

Tsai, K., (2015) A Framework of Creative Education e in education exploring our connective educational landscape Vol 21 (1) Retrieved from:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s