Training continuing educators for divergent thinking
This study investigated the effects of training in lateral thinking as a strategy for stimulating the divergent production of ideas. The 74 volunteer subjects were continuing educators from institutions of higher education in the Greater Vancouver area. Forty-nine female and twenty-five male subjects were randomly assigned to three groups. Each of two treatment groups were given four hours of training in deBono's lateral thinking techniques. The two groups differed on method, one was competency-based (directive), the other was developmentally-based (non-directive). A control group was given training in vertical thinking exercises. The experiment contrasted the divergent production scores of subjects trained in lateral thinking techniques with subjects trained in vertical thinking exercises (Contrast 1); and the scores of subjects trained in lateral thinking on directive and nondirective methods (Contrast 2).The two independent variable contrasts, three moderator variables (field independence, age and gender), a covariate, verbal comprehension, and a set of interactions, comprised the regression model, on each of four divergent production dependent variables: fluency (FLUENT), flexibility (FLEXBL), creativity (TCREATE), and originality (ORIGINL). Dependent variable scores were derived from the results of a battery of three of Guilford's tests of divergent thinking.Major findings were as follows: (a) Contrast 1 was significant (p < .05) for the treatment over the control group on the production of original ideas, controlling for fluency; (b) the cognitive style variable, field independence, was positively and significantly related to flexibility; (c) there were no significant differences between directive and nondirective methods; (d) middle career-age subject scores were not significantly different from early and late career-age subject scores. The covariate, verbal comprehension, demonstrated its influence on divergent production with significant results on originality, creativity, and flexibility, but not on fluency.This research study presented limited evidence to support the positive influence of training in lateral thinking for the production of original ideas, and the conclusion that individual differences among learners in workshop settings may be as important as the training itself.
- Education - Seattle