Curricula are lacking creative problem-solving skills

These skills are essential for the jobs of tomorrow, but need more focus in schools, says research from Adobe

At this year’s Bett, Europe’s largest exhibition for technology in education, Adobe released a global research study on the importance of teaching creative problem-solving skills to students to ensure their success in tomorrow’s workplace. In researching Creative Problem-Solving in Schools: Essential Skills Today’s Students Need for Jobs in Tomorrow’s Age of AutomationAdobe surveyed 2,000 educators and policymakers from the UK, Japan, Germany and the US, and learned how the people shaping education and students’ experiences view creative problem-solving as a critical skillset.

Overwhelmingly, three quarters of respondents predicted that professions which require creative problem-solving skills are less likely to be adversely impacted by automation, underscoring the urgent need for these skills to be taught in the classroom to prepare students for jobs of the future. Yet, the study also identified that the current lack of access to relevant tools and technologies is one of the biggest barriers to teaching these skills in schools today.

To give educators and students the tools and support they most need to address this gap, Adobe also announced changes to improve accessibility and foster creative problem-solving curricula for students and education institutions. First, Adobe Spark, a fun and frictionless creative storytelling application, will be made free to every student globally. And for the first time, all students – including those under 13 – can access Creative Cloud both on their school and home devices with the same easy-to-use log-in credentials. Educators can also now choose from more than 20 free collaborative courses taught by their peers, explore other professional resources and discover a community of 450,000 creative educators who are ready to share best practices and help boost creative problem solving and digital literacy.

There is a clear gap between what educators and policymakers know tomorrow’s workforce needs, and what today’s students are learning in school – Tracy Trowbridge, Global Lead, Education Programmes, Adobe

“There is a clear gap between what educators and policymakers know tomorrow’s workforce needs, and what today’s students are learning in school,” said Tacy Trowbridge, Global Lead, Education Programmes, Adobe. “Educators, policymakers and industry – technology in particular – need to come together to improve opportunities for students. Creative technologies can help educators teach and nurture critically important ‘soft’ skills, and policies and curricula need to evolve to complete the equation.” 

Additional study findings
Teachers and educators that were interviewed revealed that they believe students learn better via creating and when they can address different scenarios with a hands-on, immersive approach. Yet despite this clear consensus, there is a disconnect between educators and policymakers and what is happening in the classroom today. Almost all educators surveyed – 90% – believe we need to find better ways to integrate creative problem-solving into curricula, and more than half of educators explain that they do not have the tools, training or knowledge to nurture creative problem solving in their students.

Other key findings include: 

  • In the global markets surveyed, the most important creative problem-solving skills for students to learn are:

1. Independent learning                                                    

2. Learning through success and failure                              

3. Working within diverse teams                                       

4. Self-expression and dialogue              

5. Persistence, grit and entrepreneurial spirit  

6. Accepting challenges and taking risks  

7. Conflict management and argumentation  

8. Innovative thinking                

  • 79% of educators feel that there is a lack of time to create, which is the biggest barrier to nurturing creative problem-solving. Among educators who do nothave access to the tools and training they need, over half say school budget restraints are a barrier.
  • 80% of educators who use Creative Cloud in their classrooms believe their students are more prepared to employ these skills in future jobs than educators whodon’t use Creative Cloud (60%).

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