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About us

The research conducted in the United Platform for Creativity in Education (UPCE) lab focuses on the development of creativity in education. Research projects focus on understanding cognitive, social, personality and motivational factors that affect the creative process, both at individual as team level. The goal of the lab is to gain insight into the dynamic and iterative creative process, and to develop practices that can facilitate creativity in education.

Head of Lab: Evelyn Kroesbergen, Radboud University at Nijmegen

Lab Members: Kim van Broekhoven, Mare van Hooijdonk, Marloes van Dijk, Isabelle de Vink, Robin Willemsem

Project: Collaborative creativity and decision-making processes

Kim van Broekhoven, Dr.Kim van Broekhoven

Description: Everyday classrooms use both work in pairs and in groups to give students an opportunity to develop their collaborative creativity. Despite the potential of team work, putting students together in teams does not automatically lead to collaborative creativity. Groups often fail to realize their creative potential due to various cognitive and social barriers. Thus, identifying how, when and why groups generate and select creative ideas is of great importance. To this end, the present research investigates what promotes and inhibits group members of generating and selecting creative ideas, and how teachers can support students in their collaborative creativity.

Generally, Kim’s research interest involve not only divergent thinking processes, but also convergent decision-making processes (e.g., idea evaluation and idea selection). For instance, in an earlier study, she found that task exposure improves people’s ability to recognize creative, original and highly feasible ideas. In another study, together with David Cropley, they found that Art and Science students perceive the creativity of products in a different way.

Project: Measuring creative problem solving in primary education (2015-2020)

Mare van Hooijdonk, MScMare van Hooijdonk

Description: This project focuses on the measurement of creative problem solving (CPS) in primary education. CPS requires both knowledge and creative thinking in cycles of divergent and convergent thinking. As such, it is exactly CPS contemporary society demands us to address from an early age on; to find out what students can – creatively – do with their knowledge. Because no ideal assessment tool for creative problem solving has been developed yet, we aim to develop one within this project. After the validation of this tool, we will focus on teachers’ assessment of CPS in relation to teachers’ creativity, perceptions of creativity, and interpersonal behavior. In the final part, we will focus on self-assessment by students and on individual differences between students, such as differences in intelligence and distractibility.

Project: The role of bilingualism in creative thinking (2015-2020)

Marloes van Dijk, MScMarloes van Dijk

Supervised by Dr. Elma Blom, Dr. Evelyn H Kroesbergen, & Prof. Dr. Paul Leseman

Description: This project is focused on creative thinking among bilingual children. Previous research examined this relationship from a cognitive perspective, and predominantly found a positive effect of bilingualism on creativity. However, this perspective does not reflect the important role of environment in the development of children. Since we believe that cognitive processes should be seen as being situated, we argue that creativity emerges in the interaction between children and their environment. Therefore, our project is aimed at providing an overview of the current state of knowledge, and examining the relationship between bilingualism and creativity in view of theory of situated cognition.

Project: Promoting creative problem solving in 5th grade mathematics education (2019-2023)

Isabelle de Vink, MScIsabelle de Vink

Supervised by Prof. Dr. Evelyn Kroesbergen & Prof. dr. Ard Lazonder

Description: The aim of this project is to unravel the creative problem solving process in 5th grade mathematics education. Previous research has identified number sense and working memory as predictors of mathematics performance. However, creative problem solving is proposed to be an important, but less investigated, predictor of mathematics achievement. Within this project, it is investigated how creative problem solving, conceptualized in the form of divergent and convergent thinking, is related to mathematics achievement. Furthermore, it will be studied how domain-general and domain-specific child characteristics like number sense and working memory influence this relationship. Based on these findings, lessons will be developed to promote creative thinking within mathematics education. This project is part of a bigger study called ‘Strengthening creativity in math and science education’. As such, in the last phase of this project it will be investigated how transfer of creative thinking skills between mathematics and science can be promoted.

Project: strengthening creativity in elementary science education (2019 – 2023)

Robin Willemsen, MScRobin Willemsen

Supervised by Prof. Dr. Ard W. Lazonder & Prof. Dr. Evelyn H. Kroesbergen

Description: The aim of this project is to establish how science lessons can strengthen children’s creative thinking skills in upper-level elementary classrooms. Since little research as-to-yet has focused on creativity in science education, our first study quantitatively examines how creative and scientific thinking skills are related. Furthermore, we’ll qualitatively examine how children with different creative and scientific abilities use divergent and convergent thinking during an inquiry-based science task. These findings will inform the design of science lessons aimed at strengthening children’s creative and scientific thinking skills. The following studies will examine the effectiveness of different forms of instructional support and the best way to support transfer of creative thinking skills across the domains of science and mathematics.