Exploring Students' Internal Motivation for Engineering Creativity: Creative Confidence and the Arts
This study used a mixed methods approach to investigate undergraduate engineering students’ internal motivation for engineering creativity and student attitude and understanding of creativity in engineering and the arts. Using an ex-post facto design, students’ engineering creativity self-efficacy, creative personal identity, creative growth mindset, and tolerances of judgement, the messy unknown, and the first step were measured. These elements were compared across gender, year of study, engineering discipline, problem-solving preference, and creative confidence, as well as frequency and duration of arts involvement, prevalent arts activities throughout time, and performance experience. A survey instrument was created, including the development of new scales. A mixed methods pilot study was conducted to improve it. It was then distributed to undergraduate students at nine Canadian engineering institutions, with 269 respondents. A qualitative phenomenological methodology was implemented, investigating student perceptions of creativity in engineering and art and any benefit of arts in creative development through 21 individual interviews. Results from the survey instrument suggested that students possess generally high creativity self-efficacy and tolerance of fears hindering creativity, and neutral creative mindset and creative personal identity. Thus, students may be internally motivated to engage in engineering creativity. Students involved in arts displayed higher creative personal identity, while male students had higher creative self-efficacy and tolerance of fears than female students. Students who preferred open-ended problems displayed higher instances of internally motivating characteristics than those who preferred closed-ended problems. Qualitative results indicate that students define engineering creativity as problem solving, while artistic creativity was described in terms of emotional response. Students identified barriers to creativity, including the fears of judgement, failure, and doing things differently, and lack of time, lack of opportunity, and lack of value from instructors. The arts were identified as useful in overcoming internal barriers to creativity, as well as development of self-confidence, perseverance, different perspectives, and communication skills. Universal understanding of engineering creativity would aid in combating student misconception and provide a foundation for assessment. Instructor support is key in fostering creativity of undergraduates. Creativity education should be implemented, and opportunities for creative engagement without risk of failure adopted in engineering education.
URI for this recordhttp://hdl.handle.net/1974/24880
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