meta-Design Training

Meta-Design

my research question

Can you train someone to be creative/artistic?

my answer

Yaaaaaaaaasss

(with a caveat)
topic overview & perspective
Creativity is an evolving subject that has been of much debate in the world of psychology, much of which has yet to be definitively measured empirically. Are artists just born with an innate creative intelligence? Or is this something that they have learned/unlearned? As a classically trained Graphic Designer, I took a special interest in this research question. My reflexive response to this was a resounding yes; followed by a series of follow-up questions, to solidify the context....

What is creativity/artistry?

In my professional experience, I’ve found the answer to this quite subjective. I personally don’t identify as an artist, or as someone who is exceptionally creative, but I have found myself perceived by others as such. Similarly, I have encountered self-convicted artists whose works have not resonated with me as particularly creative... I’ve also met career business analysts who I perceived to have had an impeccable eye for visual aesthetics… All that to say, I believe creativity/artistry is a fluid, domain-specific, concept. It is a product of both cognition and situational practice.
I discuss the subject of creativity with considerable hesitation, for it represents an area in which psychologists… have feared to tread.
(guilford,
1950)

Intelligence

Creative Intelligence, as presented in Sternberg's Triarchic Theory, is outlined in our course material as "the ability to gain insight and solve novel problems—to think in new and interesting ways." (Gazzaniga, 2018, p. 323) Torrance subsequently developed a widely used psychometric test to measure cognitive intellect in creativity.

Personality

Guilford (1950) spearheaded modern Creativity research in the real of psychology, hypothesizing that personality is intrinsically linked to creative aptitude. This proposal additionally considers Openness to new experiences — as presented in The Big Five personalities model, — which our unit refer to as being linked to one's imaginative outlook, likely to decrease with age. (Barker, 2021)

Metacognition

Unit 8 describes cognition as “the mental representation and manipulation of knowledge about the world” (Barker, 2021, Lecture 8.1.1 Contents of Thought) Further research for this proposal shows a correlation between metacognitive practices and increased creative outputs.

Learning

As training would represent the quantified manipulation for this research question, operant conditioning in the environment of higher education serves as the underpinning of this proposal
it all starts with the arts

A love of process

(James,
1997)
  • University student
  • Female
  • Late 20’s
  • Returning freshman
    (dropped out 10 years prior)
  • Full-time student
  • Non-art major
  • Enrolled to fulfill a liberal arts requirement

Learning Artistic Creativity: A Case Study, Studies in Art Education

Patricia James
(1997)
objective, Methods & participants
  • University student
  • Female
  • Late 20’s
  • Returning freshman
    (dropped out 10 years prior)
  • Full-time student
  • Non-art major
  • Enrolled to fulfill a liberal arts requirement
Identify the cognitive, affective, social and environmental factors that would facilitate (without prior training) the ability to learn to think and operate in a creative/artistic manner.

Qualitative Descriptive Research: Case Study — focusing on one student, as they learned to make art in an introductory sculpture class in a university (James, 1997).

The participant was  female, late 20's, non-art major freshman, enrolled to to fulfill a liberal arts requirement.
Findings, Limitations & Relevance
The participant was successful in producing progressively more noteworthy pieces by the end of term. James (1997) emphasizes the student's learning of “skills and values that are important for artistic creativity, including openness to experience, risk-taking, and a love of process." However, James (1997) also notes that the professor failed to promote strategies that would encourage students to think metacognitively.

The relevance of this study is mostly anchored in its traditional arts focus. The subject had not received prior arts training, rendering the results of this sculpture class study most effective. If the assumption was that she was not creative/artistic prior to this class (in the context of not having successfully produced associated creative/artistic outputs), then she could now be deemed (more) creative/artistic by the end of this study.
  • University student
  • Female
  • Late 20’s
  • Returning freshman
    (dropped out 10 years prior)
  • Full-time student
  • Non-art major
  • Enrolled to fulfill a liberal arts requirement
redefine with design

Idea development monitoring

(Kavousi et al.,
2019)
  • University student
  • Female
  • Late 20’s
  • Returning freshman
    (dropped out 10 years prior)
  • Full-time student
  • Non-art major
  • Enrolled to fulfill a liberal arts requirement

Modeling metacognition
in design thinking and design making

Shabnam Kavousi,
Patrick A. Miller,
Patricia A. Alexander
(2019)
objective, Methods & participants
  • University student
  • Female
  • Late 20’s
  • Returning freshman
    (dropped out 10 years prior)
  • Full-time student
  • Non-art major
  • Enrolled to fulfill a liberal arts requirement
The authors state the research question as: What are the metacognitive thinking processes that design students use to engage in a design learning task? The associated goal was identified as implementing a framework (via design lab) that could serve students in both the design thinking and the design making process of architectural training.

Qualitative Descriptive Research: Observation (video-recorded) & Participant's Self-reporting

23 freshman architecture students (9 men, 14 women)
Findings, Limitations & Relevance
The above outlined subjects are the outputs from the clustering of qualitative data retrieved in this study. "Unlike many other disciplines, design students go through multiple cycles of idea generation, which consists of generation, development, review, and improvement of an idea." (Kavousi et al., 2019) This statement resonates with my perspective of design being a function of creative problem solving. This study and framework lends itself as a pointed strategy to leverage as the qualified manipulation of the IV in my experiment.
  • University student
  • Female
  • Late 20’s
  • Returning freshman
    (dropped out 10 years prior)
  • Full-time student
  • Non-art major
  • Enrolled to fulfill a liberal arts requirement
meta-Design Training

Meta-Design

hypothesis
independant variable
An adult, willingly engaged in the efforts to produce, noteworthy, industry-specific, creative/artistic works.
dependant variable
Creative aptitude evaluated using The TTCT-Figural test (Rand, 2018). Openness to new experiences evaluated via The Big Five personality test (Open-Source Psychometrics Project, 2019).

One can be trained to be creative/artistic.

qualified manipulation
Implementation of metacognitive strategies in design thinking and design making (Kavousi et al., 2019) in an established graphic design program curriculum

Meta-Design
101

double blind experiment
  • 90 minute mock-class, conducted by one moderator twice a week for 15 weeks.
  • Will consist of in class exercises only.
  • No homework assignment will be given.
  • Grades will not be counted towards the program curriculum (Dawson College, 2015). This study would be an agreed upon addition to the program schedule, in the aims of gathering insights and identifying opportunities for program improvement long-term.
participants
  • University student
  • Female
  • Late 20’s
  • Returning freshman
    (dropped out 10 years prior)
  • Full-time student
  • Non-art major
  • Enrolled to fulfill a liberal arts requirement
The participant pool, and DV for this study, will be Cegep Students newly admitted to the Graphic Design program at Dawson College (First year students, Fall 2022). Following the participant assessment of Kavousi et al. (2019), a Cegep design program was selected as an optimal post-secondary age group with limited previous exposure to metacognitive concepts  (Kavousi et al., 2019).
Treatment & data collection
Each group will be administered a battery of tests on the first week of the course: The big 5 personality test () to evaluate openness to new experiences, and the TTCT- figural test (Rand, 2018) to obtain a psychometric baseline of creative intelligence. Both groups will be retested (DV) on the 15th week to assess any changes.

Each group will take this class once a week, on alternating schedules for the semester (i e. Control group's class will take place on Tuesday week one, and Thursday week two. Vice versa for the experimental group) this is to limit the confounding variable of assigning an additional moderator to conduct a second class.

The Control group will be given biographical lectures on thought leaders in the graphic design industry (QM), and asked to develop a related design exercise by the end of each class.

The Experimental group asked to complete similar graphic design exercises as the control group by the end of each class.
  • University student
  • Female
  • Late 20’s
  • Returning freshman
    (dropped out 10 years prior)
  • Full-time student
  • Non-art major
  • Enrolled to fulfill a liberal arts requirement
bias & Construct validity
Being an alumni of this design program, I am aware that students are typically divided into two groups, of which each respective group takes all core classes together for the entire year (2 semesters). Groups are then resorted for the following year.
The program designated Groups A and B will be blindly assigned as the Experimental group and the Control group. Individual participants will be identified in this study by their student number, age and gender only. As a moderator will be conducting the course, I will not have direct access to either group.
  • University student
  • Female
  • Late 20’s
  • Returning freshman
    (dropped out 10 years prior)
  • Full-time student
  • Non-art major
  • Enrolled to fulfill a liberal arts requirement
At the beginning of the next class, they will be given metacognitive prompts (QM) based on the Kavousi framework of design thinking and design making  (Kavousi et al., 2019) and asked to review last week's work and reflect on alternative processes and strategies for how the piece may be improved. So as to ensure both groups are provided the same timeframe to complete the weekly exercises, the experimental group's self-review will take place during the same time block as the control group's lectures.

Creative outputs from each group will be scored in accordance with the program's standard rubric. (To be decided upon mock-syllabus completion, and consultation with the program administration.) No grades will be shared with the participants, though general feedback may be provided upon completion of the study.

Data will be collected from the battery tests, study exercise scores, as well as the participant’s semester average for all core courses. I am hopeful that this will provide enough information for a correlational assessment, should the experiment results be inconclusive.

  • University student
  • Female
  • Late 20’s
  • Returning freshman
    (dropped out 10 years prior)
  • Full-time student
  • Non-art major
  • Enrolled to fulfill a liberal arts requirement
Conclusion
The foundational concepts of creative intelligence and personality have been threaded throughout my research on creativity in psychology. In the efforts to empirically establish that creativity/artistry can be learned and/or improved within an individual, I am looking to iterate and build upon the conclusions of the select reviewed literature. The implementation of metacognitive strategies in artistic training were noted as a missed opportunity in James' (1997) case-study. Research on the topic of creativity has increasingly adopted this concept since. Upon conclusion of my research for this project, I was motivated to apply the design thinking and design making framework (Kavousi et al., 2019) to an experiment conducted in my own field of design study.
  • University student
  • Female
  • Late 20’s
  • Returning freshman
    (dropped out 10 years prior)
  • Full-time student
  • Non-art major
  • Enrolled to fulfill a liberal arts requirement
referrences
Gazzaniga (2018). Psychological Science. 6th Edition. Norton.

Barker, E (2021). Introductory Psychology. eConcordia.com

Guilford, J. P. (1950). Creativity. American Psychologist, 5(9), 444–454. https://doi-org.lib-ezproxy.concordia.ca/10.1037/h0063487

Rand, Education Assessment Finder: Torrance Test of Creative Thinking-Figural (TTCT-Figural). Updated October 3, 2018. Accessed December 5, 2021.
https://www.rand.org/education-and-labor/projects/assessments/tool/1966/torrance-test-of-creative-thinking-figural-ttct-figural.html


Open-Source Psychometrics Project. Big Five Personality Test  Updated: 2 August 2019, Accessed December 5, 2021.
https://openpsychometrics.org/tests/IPIP-BFFM/

James, P. (1997). Learning artistic creativity: a case study. Studies in Art Education, 39(1), 74–88. https://doi.org/10.1080/00393541.1997.11650019

Kavousi, S., Miller, P. A., & Alexander, P. A. (2019). Modeling metacognition in design thinking and design making. International Journal of Technology and Design Education, 30(4), 709–735. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10798-019-09521-9

Dawson College. Graphic Design. Course List. Updated October, 2015, Accessed December 5, 2021.
https://www.dawsoncollege.qc.ca/graphic-design/course-list/
  • University student
  • Female
  • Late 20’s
  • Returning freshman
    (dropped out 10 years prior)
  • Full-time student
  • Non-art major
  • Enrolled to fulfill a liberal arts requirement