“Against a backdrop of uncertainty, economic turmoil and unprecedented change a new picture is emerging of the skills and traits for success (and perhaps even simply survival) in the modern era. At the heart of this essential skillset for the future lies ... creativity.”

– Mark Batey, University of Manchester

Project-Based Learning, Problem-Based Learning, and Product-Based Learning environments are changing the way students process information as well as increasing their levels of engagement. All three move educators away from traditional teaching towards creating more progressive, authentic learning environments. Each of these learning environments are well-suited for the development of creativity skillsets and mindsets. Let's take a closer look.

Project-Based Learning

This learning environment is structured around a complex challenge that usually involves the collaboration of teams of students working on authentic activities. These activities may be designed to answer questions, build models, or solve problems. Students in teams work on developing life skills, such as communication, presentation, organization, and time management. 

Problem-Based Learning

This learning environment is designed to teach problem-solving skills by confronting teams with ill-structured problems mirroring real world issues. Students focus on skills, such as writing problem statements, identifying needed information and resources, generating and analyzing solutions, and presenting written or oral solutions.

Product-Based Learning

In Product-Based Learning environments, individuals or small groups of students create a series of products to demonstrate an understanding of material presented and/or researched. Students' creativity skills are honed as they incrementally improve their products while engaging in self, peer, and teacher/coach reflection.

Projects? Problems? Products?

Perhaps you’ve been contemplating these instructional designs. Each approach increases engagement, deeper learning, life & career skill attainment, and last but not least, opportunities to hone the skills of creativity. In the "best of all worlds" students are given problems to solve and products to develop while learning the skills involved in Project-Based-Learning. For instance, the team assignment could be to address the of a lack of desirability of living in city “X”. To solve this problem, teams of students may be involved in creating and managing any number of projects to entice newcomers to reside in their city. The projects may require the development of creative products or new ways of thinking. 

Creativity: The Missing Link

Each initiative (Project-Based, Problem-Based, and Product-Based Learning) brings specific areas of focus, allowing students opportunities to develop a host of life skills. However, in each of these learning environments, the missing link has been the expertise required to support and develop students' creativity. Integrating the skillsets and mindsets of creativity will allow students to:

  • generate more options.
  • look at issues from diverse perspectives.
  • strive for originality.
  • adopt mindsets of continuous improvement.
  • become more flexible thinkers.
  • increase their tolerance for risk and failure.
  • have a more rewarding and enjoyable and learning experience!

Creativity-Based Learning augments student performance in any 21st Century program: STEM, Makers, Design Thinking, and all Project-Based Learning environments. Begin your journey today! Enroll in CBL Course #1 so you can better prepare students for a future requiring creative skillsets and mindsets!

CBL #1: Creativity-Based Learning Course 1: Introduction & Person

Live, learn, and lead creatively and prosper!

Rick & Patti Shade

Founders, Curiosita Teaching