As an e-Learning designer, I’m constantly looking for ways to be more CREATIVE! I’m always trying to think of new ideas or new ways to solve the problems I encounter. Some days, ideas and solutions flow easily for me. Some days, coming up with a creative solution can be tough! I hope you have less of these types of days but let’s be honest, we all experience them at one point or another in our careers!I want and need to design and deliver training that is unique, engages my learners, and helps them to perform at their most optimum level in their career of choice.
A while back, during one of those times of “creative struggle”, I headed to the Internet and started searching for ways to become more creative. While on this journey, I came across left-brain vs. right-brain discussions. If you’re not familiar with the left-brain/right-brain concept, I’ll summarize it here briefly.
If you’re left-brain, you’re logical and analytical. If you’re right-brain, you’re creative and intuitive.
I’m sure you have seen those left-brain/right-brain assessments all over the Internet. I took a few moments to take a few of them. The test results on one indicated I was more right-brained; the other test claimed I was more left-brained! The information provided after taking the tests stated that some scientists/theorists thought we may draw more from one side or the other and that explained our personality traits. In other words, the characteristics of one side of our brain might be more dominant than the other. Can you see where this is going? Phrases such as “some scientists/theorists think…” and “might be more more dominant,” should catch your attention.
Much like learning styles, which have taken on a life of their own in our field, the theory of right-brained vs. left-brained is running a close second. I’ve never been one who thought placing labels on people was a good thing. In my opinion, when you take such a narrow view, you’re failing to recognize the complexity that makes us human beings. I think if you talk to someone, you can really get to know that person. If you apply a label to someone and then assume you know everything about them, you’re headed down the wrong road because you will make a lot of assumptions and act on those assumptions. So, why do we do it?
I guess it’s a lot easier just to retweet about left-brain/right-brain topics rather than doing the research yourself. Maybe, it just makes us feel better if we go along with the “experts.” Whatever the reason, some of you will surely Google to find out how to tap into the right-side of your brain like I did. When you do, you’ll see solutions such as guided visualization, playing a musical instrument, or taking an art class. I’m sure there will be more than enough exercises for you to choose from to become a more creative e-Learning designer. Before you do too much searching, let’s see what other’s have been saying about left-brain/right-brain theory for years.
In this November 29, 2013, article from Time , Stephen Kosslyn and G.Miller, explained the concept of left/right is rooted in a series of operations in the 1960’s and 1970’s by doctors who worked on a study seeking treatment options for severe epilepsy. This study, which consisted of 16 patients, involved cutting the patient’s corpus callosum, the main nerve bundle that joins the two sides of the brain. After the study was completed, several articles appeared that misrepresented what was only a limited set of experiments. One article from New York Times Magazine, found here, opened with:
“Two very different persons inhabit our heads, residing in the left and right hemispheres of our brains, the twin shells that cover the central brain stem. One of them is verbal, analytic, dominant. The other is artistic but mute, and still almost totally mysterious.”
Other articles followed in Harvard Business Review and Psychology Today and the myth was born. As the article goes on to say, one side of the brain is not logical and the other intuitive, one is not analytical and the other creative. Instead, both sides of your brain work together as a system rather than in isolation.
Wow, that’s pretty deep information! After reading these articles and exploring how to become a more right-brained thinker, I’ve decided it’s time to figure out how to use my whole brain and a dash of common-sense to become more creative as an e-Learning designer. In a later post, I’ll share some of the resources and approaches I use to be more creative. In the meantime, what about you? What do you do to be more creative? Why not share some of your thoughts in the comments below.
In the meantime, if you are a new reader to my blog, please take a minute and check out my e-Learning Business Series articles!