Article | Creativity Research Journal | 1999

Effects of Instructional Style on Problem-Solving Creativity

by A. M. Ruscio and T. M. Amabile

Abstract

This study sought to determine the impact of 2 differing instructional approaches on creative problem-solving performance. Eighty-two college students completed a novel structure-building task after receiving algorithmic instruction (providing a rote, step-by-step algorithm for building a sample structure), heuristic instruction (demonstrating the same techniques in a more flexible form), or no instruction. All participants viewed the same sample structure before beginning the task. It was hypothesized that algorithmically instructed students would exhibit less exploratory behavior and lower levels of creativity than students receiving heuristic instruction. No specific hypotheses were made concerning the problem-solving creativity of students in the no-instruction condition. Results suggest that the type of instruction that students received influenced their perceptions of the task, their behaviors during the task, and their final solution to the structure problem. Students receiving algorithmic instruction exhibited greater confidence and speed when building their structures than did other students. However, they were significantly less likely to engage in exploratory behavior or to deviate from the sample structure than were students receiving heuristic instruction. Although there was no main effect of instruction condition on the judge-rated creativity of these structures, a significant interaction between instruction type and participants' attempts to replicate the sample structure was predictive of the structure's creativity. Theoretical and practical implications of these and other results are discussed.

Keywords: Training; Creativity; Cognition and Thinking; Performance; Learning;

Citation:

Ruscio, A. M., and T. M. Amabile. "Effects of Instructional Style on Problem-Solving Creativity." Creativity Research Journal 12, no. 4 (1999): 251–266.