Giving Space for Creative Design

The blog series that I have created for developing curriculum with an agile mindset is coming to a close, with only two posts remaining. This one focuses on the slack that the process has now given us.

Just to step back a moment, a holistic look at our approach to curriculum development is to always start with the outcomes you want your learners to have, break them down into reachable outcomes that fit in the big picture of your course, and create a learning experience for each of those reachable outcomes. It is only after that where you are looking at technical tools and options based on the type of delivery you wish to provide your learners. Depending on the level of technological immersion, you may need to storyboard your course, or you could be doing a highly interactive face to face course that requires very little technology. Whatever the results, you’re so close to being done that you can taste it. In fact, at this point, you’ve made the course clear enough that it will be incredibly easy to teach. Previous iterations of this course, such as the outcomes, and then the activities, can be taught, but are more challenging. Now, anybody in your field should be able to pick up your course and run with it.

So now what? Just stop? Definitely not. There is always room for continuous improvement, which we will look at in our next and last post. However, before we get there, consider what kind of incredibly creative thing could you do to improve the learning experience? A classic academic example for, let’s say personal finance, is developing your own budget throughout the course. A classic corporate example would be a real proposal for their department, or some sort of challenging team effort that would add a layer of collaboration and extended positive effect on their everyday lives.

Creativity should be approached from two perspectives.

The facilitator’s – how do I take my class beyond PowerPoint death?

The learner’s – what kind of work can they do in this course that would have life beyond the training room?

It is difficult not to simply provide a huge list of “try this idea” for you, but truthfully, this should be beyond any suggestion outside of your context. Get inside the skin of your topic, pop inside your own unlimited imagination, and ask yourself what you would do if you had no limitations. Shockingly, many of those things are doable with some slow and careful consideration. Here are my suggestions.

  • Take a lot of meandering walks thinking about the topic in relationship to making it a learning experience.
  • Perform a creative activity (playing an instrument, painting, drawing) – this usually puts you in a state of inspiration.
  • Curl up with an intelligent book with a cup of hot cocoa, or whatever puts you in a restful state.
  • Talk through your ideas with trusted and knowledgeable peers, not necessarily from the context of your topic.

These states of being will raise your creativity cells, which is really the major point to this post. If I told you the magic activities, it wouldn’t be that creative. Also, your magic and my magic will be different, suited well for the individual who came up with it.

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About Marian

My passion is centered around ensuring effective learning experiences that improve people's lives. Developing a learning mindset is my ultimate goal whether working with academic programs or corporate training; formal or informal learning practices. It is my belief that our potential for agility is limited only by our capacity for learning.