Improving creative thinking in engineering students through ART appreciation
© American Society for Engineering Education, 2019.Creativity thinking is a metacognitive process that allows not only complex problem solving but also a high degree of innovation that future engineers would need to perform disruptive tasks successfully. Given the difficulty that comes with the enhancement of a creative perspective using logical-scientific modality of thought, a need arises to consider disruptive innovations in teaching-learning approaches for new engineering programs. In this study, engineering students were given necessary trainings in creative thinking techniques in order for them to comply with: (i) acquiring competencies for a high degree of innovation; (ii) exploring through directions unknown and potentially risky and, (iii) embracing contradictions and integrating divergent perspectives and ideas. Different cognitive theories were used, specifically adapted for engineering students: firstly, theory of cognitive functioning and development of thoughts via artistic-narrative modality was taken into consideration. Secondly, the theory of mind development for integrating education across subjects were used as the basis of this study. The research was conducted using an experimental methodology with a sample size of 168 engineering students. To assess creative thinking competencies in a broad range of engineering work activities, the VALUE rubrics of the American Association of Colleges and Universities, AAC&U, were applied. The obtained results have shown that the designed approach promoted both desired abilities, a better understanding of scientific concepts among engineering students and also a higher capability to transform ideas and solutions into entirely new forms.