a transversal skill for lifelong learning. An overview of existing

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Summary of a transversal skill for lifelong learning. An overview of existing

Creativity – a transversal skill for lifelong learning. An overview of existing concepts and practices Final report – Executive Summary Authors: Milda Venckutė, Iselin Berg Mulvik and Bill Lucas Editors: Margherita Bacigalupo, Romina Cachia, Panagiotis Kampylis 2020 This publication is a report by the Joint Research Centre (JRC), the European Commission's science and knowledge service. It aims to provide evidence-based scientific support to the European policymaking process. The scientific output expressed does not imply a policy position of the European Commission. Neither the European Commission nor any person acting on behalf of the Commission is responsible for the use that might be made of this publication. For information on the methodology and quality underlying the data used in this publication for which the source is neither Eurostat nor other Commission services, users should contact the referenced source. The designations employed and the presentation of material on the maps do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the European Union concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. This report was prepared as part of the study' Creativity – a transversal skill. An overview of existing concepts and practices', which was commissioned by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre and conducted by PPMI and prof. Bill Lucas. Contact information Name: Margherita Bacigalupo Email: [email protected] EU Science Hub https://ec.europa.eu/jrc JRC122016 PDF ISBN 978-92-76-27382-0 doi:10.2760/52424 Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, 2020 © European Union, 2020 The reuse policy of the European Commission is implemented by the Commission Decision 2011/833/EU of 12 December 2011 on the reuse of Commission documents (OJ L 330, 14.12.2011, p. 39). Except otherwise noted, the reuse of this document is authorised under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/). This means that reuse is allowed provided appropriate credit is given and any changes are indicated. For any use or reproduction of photos or other material that is not owned by the EU, permission must be sought directly from the copyright holders. All content © European Union, 2020 How to cite this report: Venckutė, M., Berg Mulvik, I., Lucas, B., Creativity – a transversal skill for lifelong learning. An overview of existing concepts and practices. Final report execuitve summary (Bacigalupo, M., Cachia, R., Kampylis, P., Eds.), EUR 30479 EN, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 2020, ISBN 978-92-76-27382-0, doi:10.2760/52424, JRC122016. 3 Executive summary Introduction In the past several decades, in Europe and across the world, there have been significant changes that have fuelled the recognition of the importance of lifelong learning and heightened the need for all individuals to develop capabilities, competences and dispositions that go beyond foundational skills (Pellegrino & Hilton, 2012; Lamb et al., 2018; Lucas, 2019). These changes have also influenced the existing concepts and practices for the development of creativity as a transversal skill. Employers and educationalists alike share a view that creativity is relevant in all subjects of the curriculum and all aspects of life. Attempts have been made to teach and assess it mainly in compulsory school but also in higher, vocational, and non- formal education and training. However, in 2020, creativity is not taught or otherwise fostered systematically in most countries. In this context, the JRC undertook a study to provide a comprehensive overview of existing concepts and practices for the development of creativity as a transversal skill (or set of skills) for lifelong learning. It aims to summarise, juxtapose and reflect upon the existing concepts, definitions, and frameworks of creativity, compile an inventory of existing initiatives aimed at fostering creativity, and study eight cases in depth. The research focuses on the vocational education and training, higher education and non-formal learning which have not been much explored yet but also covers compulsory school education, which has already been more extensively researched. Research methodology The study followed a qualitative approach, applying recognised research methods such as: - Literature review to summarise, juxtapose and reflect upon existing concepts, definitions, and frameworks of creativity as a transversal skill for lifelong learning. In total, 175 academic articles/books and 59 frameworks of learning and creativity were reviewed; - Inventory to reveal practices that had been used to promote creativity as a transversal skill. In total, 34 initiatives, including well-documented policy and grass-root actions, most of which have been adopted since 2010 and implemented in Europe, were reviewed; - Case studies to reveal how creativity is conceptualised, translated into learning objectives, taught, and assessed. In total, eight initiatives of large scope, high degree of maturity, and observable impact were examined in depth; - Validation events to verify the indicative literature review, inventory, and case study findings. In total, four events, including a webinar for the policymakers, experts, and education practitioners, two workshops for experts, and a seminar for the officials of the European Commission, were conducted. Conceptualisation of creativity Creativity is often featured in learning frameworks, including international, European, national, and state-wide ones. It also appears in some research-based classifications and frameworks exclusively focused on laying down the components of creativity as a competence, competency, or skill. A comparison of different frameworks suggests that: - Each includes creativity, either explicitly or implicitly, but there is no standard approach; - Creativity is increasingly recognised as an important human attribute, but the degree of status and visibility accorded to it varies from framework to framework; - Almost all frameworks consider creativity to be ubiquitous, concerning all disciplines and ages, though a few still hold to a historical association between creativity and the arts; - In most cases, creativity is understood as both a product and process, but the focus is on 'everyday creativity' that all people can show rather than on the exceptional outputs of a genius; - The language used to describe creativity varies. It is by turns an ability, an attitude, an attribute, a capability, a capacity, an element of character, a cognitive skill, a competence or competency, a disposition, a habit of mind, a key competence or skill, a life skill, a meta-skill, a non-cognitive skill, a skill, a soft skill, a transformative competency, a transferable skill, a transversal skill or a twenty-first-century skill; 4 - No one widely used definition exists, but there is an agreement that creativity involves novel or original thinking and the generation of value, considered in relation to context and environment; - Notwithstanding a consensus as to the core elements of creativity, there is much variety about the many terms associated with it - inventiveness, innovation, entrepreneurship, persistence, grit, and curiosity; - Most frameworks conceive creativity as multi-dimensional, but the 'building blocks' of it are presented as different; - Concerning key competences, creativity is mainly connected to four – Digital; Entrepreneurship; Personal, social and learning to learn; and Cultural awareness and expression. Development of creativity Given a move-away from single discipline to transversal skills, promotion of competence- rather than discipline-based learning, and growing evidence of the benefits of creativity, many attempts have been made to help learners develop this skill. They all build on the premise that individuals can be creative but differ by source of initiative, level of implementation, focus, target group, sectors and settings covered, objectives, and scope. Ways in which creativity is conceptualised, taught, and assessed vary as well and such proliferation of approaches, though this reflects the breadth of the notion, it makes it difficult to mainstream creativity in education and training. More specifically, inventory findings reveal that: - For many, fostering creativity is a means to address real-world problems, and almost always, it feeds into broader goals, for example, employability, educational, company innovation, or personal development; - Explicit mentions of creativity in objectives are often, however, robust, elaborate definitions in practice are rare; - The conceptualisation of creativity is, in many cases, fragmented, and this translates into fragmented approaches to developing it where only one or a few components of creativity are addressed; - While some conceptualisations of creativity focus on cognition (creative thinking), others emphasise the importance of taking action, and, in this way, addressing real-world challenges of today; - Creativity is often linked to other competences and skills, such as problem-solving and innovation; - It is treated as a discrete skill or a component of others, for example, entrepreneurship; - The mechanisms that would explain how creativity is developed are not always clear; - Pedagogical approaches differ, but the most popular ones help create learning environments that mimic the real world and include problem-based, game-based, experiential, and project-based learning; - Even if creativity is defined, learning objectives, outcomes, and achievement standards are rarely clear; - Systematic assessment of learning outcomes is almost non-existent. Designing appropriate assessments requires competence frameworks featuring creativity which also show progression, but currently do not exist in most education and training systems. - While some educators find it challenging to assess creativity robustly, others, especially in non-formal settings, do not find it necessary at all. Eight cases in focus Eight case studies illustrate the variety of innovative approaches in the development of creativity as a skill. Some have been adopted for system innovation, others tailored to drive change in a limited number of organisations. A middle course also exists, for example, specific initiatives heavily focus on the professional development of educators. More specifically, a cross-case analysis reveals that: - System innovation does not necessarily mean a broad geographical scope. - While funding may influence the scope of actions and scale of effect, it is insignificant for achieving objectives and claiming success. - Creativity is a driving force behind change, and developing it helps to respond to environmental, social, and economic challenges of today. 5 - There is no one-size-fits-all solution to teaching and learning creativity. - Development of creativity is typically framed within higher objectives and often feature approaches such as problem-based and inquiry-based learning. - Most focus on individual rather than group creativity but emphasise collaboration while learning – developing and applying creative skills. - Resources, tools and learning environments are important for the promotion of creativity as a skill. - Outcomes by level, if any, are rarely defined. Approaches adopted are typically informal, featuring observation, reflection, and self-assessment rather than verified creativity tests. Overall, there is an increasing consensus as to the core elements of creativity and a growing evidence base on the pedagogies and learning approaches that facilitate the development of it. Moreover, the study reveals several factors that drive the success of initiatives aimed at fostering creativity as a transversal skill. These include political will and buy-in at different levels; capacity, commitment and collaboration of all partners involved; explicit attention to creativity; clear definition of it; framing the development of creativity within higher objectives; highlighting the importance of it for employability and business outcomes; novelty and potential of promoted pedagogies and robust methodologies; engaging students and teachers together; and providing educator support. On the other hand, several factors hinder the promotion of creativity as a transversal skill. These include the perception of creativity as a fuzzy concept learnable by osmosis with no explicit teaching; lack of understanding the value of creativity; focus on talking about rather than developing creativity as a skill; shortness of efforts; lack of ready-to-use assessment tools; the existence of few good examples to learn from; and limited coordination of different actions adopted towards the same goal. Nevertheless, the reality of lifelong learning is more complex, hence: - While explicit attention to creativity is central, it is not enough; setting a clear definition of creativity, linking it with learning outcomes, adopting tried-and-tested pedagogies and providing educator support help to turn the goal of developing creativity into practice. - The more comprehensive the definition of creativity is, the better it can be embedded into teaching and learning; this helps to ensure that the componential nature of creativity is considered and most if not all dimensions of creativity are addressed. - Successful teaching and learning of creativity require the mechanisms of it to be clear; this can be achieved by linking the definition of creativity with activities, learning settings and results that are expected to be achieved. - To allow for assessment, the definition of creativity has to be linked with learning objectives and outcomes, ideally, by level of progression. GETTING IN TOUCH WITH THE EU In person All over the European Union there are hundreds of Europe Direct information centres. You can find the address of the centre nearest you at: https://europa.eu/european-union/contact_en On the phone or by email Europe Direct is a service that answers your questions about the European Union. You can contact this service: - by freephone: 00 800 6 7 8 9 10 11 (certain operators may charge for these calls), - at the following standard number: +32 22999696, or - by electronic mail via: https://europa.eu/european-union/contact_en FINDING INFORMATION ABOUT THE EU Online Information about the European Union in all the official languages of the EU is available on the Europa website at: https://europa.eu/european-union/index_en EU publications You can download or order free and priced EU publications from EU Bookshop at: https://publications.europa.eu/en/publications. Multiple copies of free publications may be obtained by contacting Europe Direct or your local information centre (see https://europa.eu/european-union/contact_en). KJ-06-20-176-EN-N doi:10.2760/52424 ISBN 978-92-76-27382-0