Education's Killer App: Creativity

In a recent Chief Learning Officer Editor's Letter, Mike Prokopeak lays out the key to the future economy and how technology can enable it, not stifle it.

First he lays out the current rut: teach, test, accredit, repeat. A cycle he explains happens to the learner, not with them. And it's been happening to them since first grade.

“The result is an education system that resembles a massive, smokestack-topped factory churning out the newest model for the showroom floor."

While testing will always be necessary - we must ensure the right things are being taught the right way, based on evidence, questioning the outcome of education is fair game. For companies, this means education/training should lead to a better bottom line, a boost in sales, engaged workers and fewer, less costly mistakes. In schools, this would mean increased employment rates and GDP growth. These "bottom-line" results and the assessments we create to ensure the outcome (well-trained employees and productive participants in our economy) but end up just becoming factories of learning producing a productive product.

Prokopeak believes in the future economy, driven by innovation rather than industrial production, it will be the people who use the information and resources available to make smart and unexpected decisions that make meaning. Meaning = innovation. And creativity is the killer app.

He explains that technology is a powerful enabler of education by making it easier for learners to acquire knowledge but must make sure to stay out of the way of creativitiy. At Edvance360, we believe technology can enable creativity. A host of engaging, user-friendly, and inexpensive tools can be implemented to boost creativity by providing a safe environment for exploration.

Here are two things a CLO using Edvance360 LMS can implement immediately:

  • Require employees to digest information and then share it's meaning. Present the information/knowledge they need, test it (of course), and then require them to share the meaning of it's impact on the business, human race, organization, etc. This can be done via discussion posts that ask probing questions such as "How can this make our clients' lives better?" or "Why should this be a part of our culture? What is the alternative?" It could also be given to the "class" as a wiki where learners define the answers to probing questions or discuss/debate resolutions to case studies presented to them. Employees could also journal/blog their thoughts as they progress through the course material. Caution: The employees have to be confident that there is no "wrong" answer.

  • Pair them with others.  Self-paced courses are great for certain topics, but to get creative juices flowing, put employees together to learn. This does NOT have to be face-to-face. Use tools inside Edvance360 LMS such as the video-conferencing, wikis, communities, and discussions/debates. And don't forget about our mentor feature.

To summarize, Prokopeak warns us that technology can become "just a new form of teaching to the test" but if we help employees and learners "make meaning from the tools they use" to "explore new frontiers of knowledge" it will lead to higher creativity. "Technology is part of the answer. People are the rest of it."

Are your learners bored?

To find out more information about our collaborative tools found in our latest version, Edvance360 Version 8.1, contact us at

Note: For more information on how to make your online program successful, download our free guide, talk with our experts at no cost, and access our other online resources.