Creative Education
2012. Vol.3, No.4, 422-429
Published Online August 2012 in SciRes (
Copyright © 2012 SciRe s .
Creativity in Collaborative Learning across the Life Span
Margarida Romero1,2, Pirkko Hyvönen3, Elena Ba rberà1
1Elearn Center, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain
2ESADE Universitat Ramon Llull, Barcelona, Spain
3University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Received June 6th, 2012; revised July 11th, 2012; accepted July 21st, 2012
Creativity is one of the competencies required in order successfully to meet challenges across the life span.
After defining the broad concept of creativity and its relevance in education, this paper discusses the out-
come of a literature review on creativity in collaborative learning across the different stages of an indi-
vidual’s development, with a specific focus on the use of ICT as a means of fostering the creative learning
process. Although much of the literature concerns creativity and critical thinking skills in children and
adolescents, we analyze the specific requirements and specificities of these competencies in advanced
adulthood. We aim specifically to characterize the capabilities of older adults to collaborate through Vir-
tual Learning Environments (VLEs). The last part of the paper discusses means of promoting the devel-
opment of creative skills at different ages, notably in elderly persons, and the use of collaborative learning
Keywords: Creativity; Collaboration; Collaborative Learning; ICT; Older Adults; Lifelong Learning
People in today’s society are living in constantly changing
environments where they commonly confront complex and
unexpected problems. Previously learned practices do not al-
ways provide adequate means of coping in these new situations.
Creativity is required to deal with the evolution of new knowl-
edge and technologies; hence, it is one of the skills we should
develop across our life span (Hilton, 2008; Trilling & Fadel,
2009). The traditional 3 Rs (Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic)
of the 20th century have been replaced by the 4Cs, namely
Critical thinking and problem solving, Communication, Col-
laboration and Creativity and innovation skills (Frydenberg &
Andone, 2011). Creativity is considered a key competency for
personal and social prosperity because “we live in the creative
age of information, communication and collaboration” (Kam-
pylis, Berki, & Saariluoma, 2009: p. 15), in which technologi-
cal advances in our daily lives demand continuous learning.
According to Rojanapanich and Pimpa (2011), creativity can
facilitate adaptation to globalisation and promote innovation.
As a human capability, creativity is considered to be a com-
petence that can be learned and developed in a dynamic way
across the life span, not only as an individual process but also
as a collaboratively constructed one. A common misconception
is that creativity is restricted to “artistic” subjects or belongs in
domain of children and young people (see Straker & Rawlinson,
2003) and that it as an individual outcome of an eccentric per-
sonality (Amabile, 1996). By contrast, we are interested in the
collaborative creative process, not limited to the context of
children and adolescents but extending throughout the whole
span of age from the early years to the elderly. Creativity is
nowadays understood as a social process, developed by transac-
tions between persons sharing a context that can be supported
by technology. “Creativity can be viewed as, and investigated
as, one aspect of an ongoing dialogue in computer supported
collaborative teams” (Sundholm, Artman, & Ramberg, 2004: p.
In this paper we aim to advance the understanding of the
creative process in the elderly, focusing on the possibilities for
fostering older adults’ creative collaboration through supportive
technologies. We start the study with an overview of the chal-
lenges faced by the elderly in their adoption of technologies,
before defining the creative collaboration concept. Because of
the lack of specific literature about creative collaboration across
the life span, we review the research studies considering the
evolution of creativity across the different life stages and the
relationship between older adults and ICT. Finally, we synthe-
sise the main findings and suggest future lines of research to
advance understanding of creative collaboration across the life
Adoption of Technology among the Elderly
For older adults, as for many others, creativity is a prerequi-
site for using a computer, but it is also a consequence of using
it (Hyvönen, 2002). In this section, we analyse the evolution of
computer-based technologies in society and the challenges for
older people of adopting these technologies.
Many public and private services have moved into digital
solutions, forcing people to change to digital channels, whether
they have experience of and interest in information and com-
munication technology (ICT) or not. European inititiatives such
the “European Year for Active Ageing” and the Action Plan on
“Ageing Well in the Information Society” has highlighted the
importance of older adults’ access to ICT, active ageing and
consequently the need to better understand their specific needs
(Ala-Mutka, Punie, & Redecker, 2008; Sourbati, 2009).
In the last fifteen years or so, computers and the Internet
have proven themselves as empowering tools for older adults.
They afford the sense of being an active citizen in the society.
Older people use computers and the Internet for information,
shopping, social interaction, banking and post their own writ-
ings through social media (Charness & Holley, 2004; Galusha,
1998; Hyvönen, 2002; Selwyn, 2004; Sourbati, 2009; Vuori &
Holmlund-Rytkönen, 2005). Older users of computer technol-
ogy are sometimes described as “silver surfers”, who consider
ageing as a positive phenomenon, who suffer little anxiety in
their use of the technology and whose technical efficacy is high
(Cody et al., 1999).
However, recent studies also point to a more negative ex-
perience among the elderly in their use of ICT, noting an exag-
geration of positive emotions when interpreting older adults’
com puter u se (Selwyn, 2004; Selwyn, G o r ard, & F u r long, 2005).
Moreover, some older people cannot use computers and the
Internet, nor do they want to (Hakkarainen & Hyvönen, 2010;
Hakkarainen, 2012). According to Selwyn, Gorard and Furlong
(2005), there is a growing number of older adults who actively
avoid using computers or have given up so doing. The reasons
are many. Lack of confidence in their ability to master new
technologies is one (Marquié, Jourdan-Boddaert, & Huet, 2002).
Another is what may be termed computer anxiety (Cody et al.,
Wagner, Hassan ein and Head (2010) cite many studies that i n-
dicate a correlation between older adults’ use of computers and
their well-being, owing to a decreasing in stress and loneliness.
On the other hand, Hakkarainen and Hyvönen (2010) show that
some older people find other things more important and crea-
tive than computers, such as hobbies (sports, reading, handi-
crafts, gardening and other nature activities). Indeed, they ac-
tively choose to live without computers in order to enhance
their well-being. Thus, studies show contradictory causalities
relating to the impacts of using computers in later life.
The problem, however, is that, in order to cope in today’s
and tomorrow’s society, people need to use ICT to manage
their daily affairs, such as banking and finance, as well as to
keep in contact with other people.
Supportive Technologies for Creative Collaboration
across the Life Span
This study considers the use of supportive technologies not
only as a requirement but also as an opportunity to support
creative collaboration among the elderly. It is developed in the
context of the EU-funded Lifelong Learning Program and Co-
Creat project, which has the objective of enabling creative col-
laboration through supportive technologies. In the CoCreat
project, one of the specific target populations is older adults in
rural areas, where they may be forced to travel long distances to
manage their everyday affairs. Along with regional changes,
public services are increasingly becoming network-based; yet
many elderly citizens can neither afford personal computers nor
access possibilities to learn how to use them. The Internet has
become a critical communication tool in rural areas, where
neighbours, friends and relatives are living far apart (Malecki,
The CoCreat project aims to study how communication can
be enhanced in rural areas and how public services can be
brought closer to elderly people, promote active ageing by en-
hancing their access to new technologies for using public ser-
vices, for pursuing hobbies for directly accessing local news
and for social communication.
Fozard, Bouma, Franco and Bronswijk (2009: p. 192) high-
light the importance of communi cation opportunities for the eld-
erly: “[A]ll the virtual communic ation aids are available, ranging
from e-mail to social networks, e.g., Facebook, dating services,
and virtual chat room groups. At a more sophisticated level,
video conferencing techniques are becoming more accessible to
remotely connect members of a social group. One example was
of a man, currently housebound because of a strok e, who kept in
communication with friends in a local senior citizen group of
which he was a member via a video link between the public area
of the senior citizen center and his bedroom.”
Fozard, Bouma, Franco and Bronswijk (2009) argue the value
of collaboration technologies as a support to enhance fun and
creativity in the second half of life. According to Lambropoulos,
Romero and Kommers (2011), technologies enable the creation
of shared contexts for engageme nt of participants. Fun technolo-
gies are an opportunity for adults of all age s to engage in creative
collaboration and interaction.
A preliminary case study has been developed in the first
phase of the CoCreat project, aimed at analysing the impact of
iPads as a supportive technology for creative collaboration
among the elderly. The case study confirmed the creative po-
tential of the elderly and equally the potential for tablets to
overcome the challenges that elderly people experience in the
adoption of ICT (Hyvönen, Romero, & Barbera, 2012). In this
study we first develop the concept of creative collaboration and,
in the second part of the paper, conduct a systematic literature
review on the creative collaboration process throughout the life
Creative Collaboration: Definition
Creative collaboration based on a collaborative tradition has
not yet attracted much research interest. By contrast, collabora-
tion in creativity has been studied widely. In our study, “crea-
tive” denotes the quality of collaboration, where the aim is to
act together to find diverse ways to use technologies in order to
enhance well-being and active ageing. The processes itself
should free an individual’s cognitive resources and provide
something that they have not encountered or understood before,
for instance social interaction, atmosphere or the exchange of
ideas and feelings. Creativity is seen as an important part of
collaboration and specific ally of collaborative learning.
Defining Collaboration
By collaboration we do not refer only to a sense of belonging
or cooperation, but rather to the co-construction of shared unde r-
standing (Roschelle & Teasley, 1995). Computer-supported col-
laborative learning (CSCL) is the use of information and com-
munication technology to enhance learning. The CSCL environ-
ment is not merely a means of supporting communication be-
tween people who are physically remote but a tool used in both
co-presence and distance settings for shaping interaction in many
ways and for capturing, analysing and mirroring these interac-
tions in real time. It is important to realise that collaboration
among participants can be designed. Dillenbourg, Järvelä and
Fisher (2009) have defined eleven principles of CSCL, based on
previous studies in the field (e.g. Dillenbourg, 2005; Dillenbourg,
Baker, Blaye, & O’Malley, 1996; Scarda malia & Bereiter, 1994;
Roschelle & Teasley, 1995). Of t hese, seven are important in the
context of older adults’ use of ICT.
1) The focus is on social interaction rather than individuali-
Copyright © 2012 SciRe s . 423
2) Cognition is seen primarily as a social process, in other
words activities that foster social interaction are methods by
which people construct knowledge.
3) The border between formal and informal is blurred, true
especially in lifelong learning contexts, where informal learning
plays a crucial part.
4) Collaborative learning does not take place just by getting
people together. Under what conditions environments, tech-
nologies, design and interaction enhance learning is a crucial
5) Over-expectations of media effectiveness should be con-
6) Effectiveness for learning should be addressed by consid-
ering efforts that individuals perform together: how shared
understanding can be achieved.
7) In addition to virtual interaction, face-to-face interaction is
Although these principles emphasize joint knowledge con-
struction, shared understanding and social interaction, affective
issues, emotions and motivation and their regulation should be
taken into account as well (Dillenbourg, Järvelä, & Fisher, 2009;
Hadwin, Oshige, Gress, & Winne, 2010; Järvelä, Volet, &
Järvenoja, 2005). For example, previous experiences of tech-
nologies may create frustration and negative estimations of the
usefulness of ICT and an individual’s competence (Capdeferr o &
Romero, 2012).
Defining Creativity
Creativity refers to the generation of ideas that are original,
valuable or useful (Sternberg & Lubart, 1995). For years, crea-
tivity has been conceived as an individual trait, but also as a
process and the product of the process (Amabile, 1996; Ey-
senck, 1995; Plucker, Beghetto, & Dow, 2004; Romero & Bar-
berà, 2012; Runco, 2007). In this paper we consider creativity
from a socio-cognitive viewpoint in terms of both an individual
and a shared process. Creativity is not merely an original act or
idea but also an accepted new solution that is collaboratively
(co)constructed and shared by a group. The output of creativity
may be an act that transcends the creator of the creativity (Sak
& Oz, 2010) and produces “changes in an existing domain, or
transforms an existing domain into a new one […] What counts
is whether the novelty he or she produces is accepted for inclu-
sion in the domain” (Csikszentmihalyi, 1997: p. 315). The im-
portance of the usefulness of the ideas or acts that are consid-
ered creative is highlighted by Franken (1994: p. 396). This
author considers “creativity as the tendency to generate or rec-
ognize ideas, alternatives, or possibilities that may be useful in
solving problems, communicating with others, and entertaining
ourselves and others”. In other words, a “tendency to generate
or recognize ideas, alternatives, or possibilities”, otherwise
known as divergent thinking, is strongly linked to creativity. As
defined by Guilford (1959, 1962), creativity refers to processes
to make the invisible visible, to generate novel associations and
that encourage flexible ideation to generate many responses to
open-ended, unstructured and multifaceted problems.
Divergent thinking provides the foundation for creative pro-
duction, because it requires ideational searching without direc-
tional boundaries and is determined by fluency, flexibility and
originality. However, ability to think divergently does not by
itself produce creativity; critical thinking as well is needed
(Glassner & Schwarz, 2007; Torrance, 1988). Some theorists
propose “different sides of divergent thinking”; a generative
and an evaluative side (e.g. Silvia, 2011: p. 29). It seems that
individuals are likely to enhance their divergent thinking by, for
example, training cognitive and neural mechanisms and engag-
ing in improvisation (Gibson, Folley, & Park, 2009). It is also
known that older adults can think as divergently as young
adults, but they do so at a slower rate and require more time
than younger people (Foos & Boone, 2008).
Bereiter and Scardamalia (2003) provide an interesting view
of creativity. They propose two modes, a belief mode and a
design mode, which characterize how people deal with knowl-
edge in all kinds of contexts. In the belief mode, people deal
with things that they believe or ought to believe; they agree or
disagree with ideas, present arguments for or against, express
and try to resolve doubts. Believing should incorporate critical
thinking about beliefs, using evidence and logic and finding
background knowledge in order to evaluate ideas.
In the design mode, people are concerned with the usefulness,
adequacy, improvability and developmental potential of ideas.
Design is not restricted only to creative products (e.g. crafts)
but encompasses also conceptual artefacts, such as theories,
proofs, problem formulations or interpretations. If we consider
processes in which older people find ways to use technologies
creatively, both modes are important. Creative thinking and
creative use of technology go hand in hand. We argue there is a
need to raise awareness of the creative potential of older adults
in their use of ICT. Fozard (2001) considers the use of ICT for
improving the elderly well-being under the concept “geron-
technology”, arguing that it can delay and compensate for cog-
nitive decline (e.g. using alert systems to improve temporal
monitoring) and “enhance the quality of life and creativity of
older people, and support family members and caregivers”
(Fozard, 2001; Czaja, Charness, Fisk, & Rogers, 2002: p. 2).
Before analyzing the specificities of the creative skills of
older people and their creative use of ICT, we analyze creativ-
ity across the life span, including the evolution of the creative
process from childhood to older age.
Methodology for the Literature Review
Search Parameters
Our search for relevant literature on creativity and collabora-
tion among older adults began with identifying the main jour-
nals publishing in the creativity field and studies on older peo-
ple and their use of ICT. We searched the journals Creative
Education and Thinking Skills and Creativity using the terms
“collaboration” and “ICT” to identify studies about collabora-
tive creativity and the terms “elderly” or “aged”. The Journal of
Aging Studies was considered for studies on ageing and Geron-
technology: International Journal on the Fundamental Aspects
of Technology to Serve the Ageing Society for studies relating to
the use of ICT by the elderly. In both journals we searched with
the terms “creativity” or “creative”. Abstracts were scrutinised
and potentially relevant articles obtained. A narrative synthesis
of results is presented.
Creative Education and Thinking Skills and Creativity
searches on the terms “collaboration” and “ICT” yielded 10
papers, whereas the searches on the terms “elderly”, “aged”,
“old” or “older” yielded one paper, which was not related to the
study of creativity in elderly persons but to other subjects,
Copyright © 2012 SciRe s .
among them one person working in elderly care. Searches in
the Journal of Aging Studies on the terms “creativity ” or “crea-
tive” yielded 44 papers of possible interest, and six additional
papers were found in Gerontechnology.
The studies described in the papers identified were found to
fall into three areas of research. These were collaborative crea-
tive process; creativity in elde rly; and finally, the collaborative
creative process in the elderly. Considering creativity in gen-
eral and the collaborative process in particular, we start the
narrative synthesis by presenting the creative process across the
life span, before focusing on the specific creative processes of
the elderly.
Collaborative Creative Process
Creativity has been mainly studied as an individua l process. In
recent years, collaborative learning and teamwork in the work-
place, in a context of increasing productivity, have highlighted
the collaborative element in the creative process. Studies have
considered creativity as a collaborative and situated process
(Fernández-Cárdenas, 2008; Eteläpelto & Lahti, 2008). Accord-
ing to Eteläpelto and Lahti (2008), different characteristics of
group settings can influence the collaborative creative process,
such as the emotional atmosphere and the power relations be-
tween the members of the group. Among Fi nni sh t eacher trainees,
a negative, unsafe atmosphere made group members afraid of
being emotionally hurt. On the other hand, complementary dis-
cussions, utilisation of others’ vie ws, a shared history among the
group, rich emotional scaffolding and the tutor’s support en-
hanced creative collaboration. The emotional dimension seems a
particularly important element of creative collaboration.
Creativity in educational contexts has recently been studied
widely within the 27 member states of the European Union. Ac-
cording to one survey (Ferrari, C achia, & Punie, 2010), a major-
ity of teachers believe that “creativity can be applied to every
domain of knowledge (98% ) and to every school subject (96%)”.
However, the place of creativity in the national curriculum varies
from one country to another (Cachia et al., 2009). Kampylis,
Berki and Saariluoma (2009) studied Greek teachers’ (in service
and pre-service) conceptions about creativity, and found that
most of them belonged to a “school-sceptic” group and believed
that creativity exists only in traditional subjects such as theatre,
arts and music but is a key component in personal and social
progress. However, it seems that creativity as a concept is neither
adequately understood nor supported among the teachers.
The Creative Process across the Life Span
Age and educational level are considered to be important vari-
ables in the development of cognitive maturity (King & Kitch-
ener, 1994; Perry, 1970). According to Perry, students in their
early to mid-20s have not fully reached the higher levels of cog-
nitive maturity that allow them to engage in reflective thinking.
King and Kitchener’s Reflective Judgment Model considers
seven stages in cognitive developmental progressi on in reasoning,
which represent “distinct sets of assumptions about knowledge
and how knowledge is acquired” (p. 13). Their research showed
that reflective judgment scores increased consistently with age
and educational level. The increase of creativity among adults,
including older adults, is also defended by Cohen (2000), who
argues for considering the opportunities for creativity in the sec-
ond half of life.
For some authors, children are naturally creative and open to
experience and novelty; but this human potential has to be de-
veloped in order to be maintained in the later stages of life
(Esquivel, 1995; Feldman & Benjamin, 2006; Lin, 2011). In the
early years, according to Clay (2001), writing is an important
means of stimulating children’s creative thinking. Chen and Zhou
(2010) consider the creative process in children aged from five to
six years in a writing task. They observe the positive impact of
providing the children with an open-ended task, allowing them to
use pictures to represent the meanings of the characters they are
writing about.
In the psychology of development literature, adolescence and
young adulthood are considered the optimal stage for the devel-
opment of higher order cognitive processes. For Giedd and col-
leagues (1999), cognitive skills are better developed in adoles-
cence than in childhood. Despite this possible advantage, Marin
and Halpern (2011) observe the beneficial effect of direct instruc-
tion to obtain higher performance in the Halpern Critical Think-
ing Assessment (Halpern, 1998) among low-income high stu-
dents in America. Robbins and Kegley (2010) consider the de-
velopment of creativity abilities among 51 students participating
in a Principles of Management course (N = 25) or a Creative
Inquiry free elective course (N = 26). Data was collected using
the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking (TTCT, Torrance, 1988)
pre- and post-testing. Results revealed a significant increase in
the participants’ creative self-efficacy in the Creative Inquiry
course, which aimed to develop the students’ creat ivity in a direct
Fischer and Nakakoji (1997) consider creativity among adults
in everyday life, focusing their study on the wo rld of professiona l
designers in a collaborative learning environment for facilitating
creativity in the workplace by the sharing of ideas. Information
sharing is one of the key elements for promoting collaborative
creativity among the team to reach a common objective. Wyatt-
Brown (1989) analyses a case of creativity, namely that of the
novelist Anita Brookner. Wy att-Brown analyses B rookner’s nov-
els and interviews her in her fifties to consider the evolution of
creativity in advanced adulthood, particularly in order to counter
the passivity of accepting the direction of her midlife.
Older Adults’ Profile and Their Creativity
In this section, we focus on the specificities of the elderly tar-
get group and their creative capabilities, before introducing spe-
cific ways in which their creativity may be enhanced.
Older adults are defined in many ways, depending on which
area of aging is under study. In studies relating to the working
life, a 45-year-old can be classified as an older adult, whereas
in the context of ICT, the designation “older adults” may refer
variably to those between 40 years and 75 years. In research
relating specifically to successful ageing and creativity in later
life, the limit extends to 93 years (Fisher & Spech, 1999). Older
adults are not a homogeneous group but are heterogeneous
individuals with many differences.
Life expectancy is increasing in the world’s richest nations,
which translates into an increased emphasis on the physical,
cognitive and emotional needs of the growing numbers of older
adults. Although there exist different approaches to late adult-
hood in developmental psychology (Havighurst, 1972), the gen-
Copyright © 2012 SciRe s . 425
eral characteristics of this vital stage are driven by the last per-
manent changes in cognitive, sensory-motor and social compe-
Although older adults have not been the subject of extensive
study to date, at least three different theoretical perspectives can
be distinguished.
1) First, we may consider theories about normative crisis. All
these theories are basically descriptive and rely on age-related
sequences in the human life span structured by developmental
phase. Relevant theories are the “eight ages” of Erikson (1950,
1968), Piaget’s “genetic epistemology” (1977, 1985) or Bal-
tes’s vital cycles (1990).
2) Second, we can identify theories about successful aging.
These models are not based on developmental deficits like the
previous ones but driven by a satisfactory construct of life.
They describe ways and processes to arrive at a high level of
personal satisfaction by adapting to change (Baltes & Baltes,
1989; Fisher & Spech, 1999; Havighurst & Taba, 1949).
3) Third, there are specific or partial theories. This approach
does not explain psychosocial aging process as a whole but is
precisely focused on the period of older adulthood, and the
theories involved mainly deal with cognitive achievement and
sensory functions (Lindenberger & Baltes, 1994); socio-emo-
tional selectivity (Carstensen, 1992) and developmental con-
textualism based on changing co-actions between the individual
and his/her context (Lerner, 2002).
All these perspectives agree that late adulthood is a period of
adaptation to new personal resources, which leads to a paradox:
the individual apparently experiences a progressive decline in
activity and is subject to greater physical and cognitive limits
but at the same time is better able to adapt to it. This so-called
“practical intelligence” or wisdom can be understood as expert
knowledge about vital questions (Staudinger & Baltes, 1996)
and enables the elderly to sort out conflicts that youth and more
efficient decision-making processes struggle with, as they are
better able to grasp the consequences of situations and to estab-
lish clear priorities. Older adults thus seem better equipped to
solve creatively situations in which they are more experienced,
but experience specific challenges in the context of the use of
ICT, where they manifest more than twice as many user diffi-
culties as younger users (Nielsen, 2002) and feel less confident
about their own computer knowledge (Marquié, Jourdan-Bod-
daerta & Huet, 2002). Despite their lower confidence levels,
most healthy seniors are very well capable of acquiring com-
puter skills (Mayhorn, Lanzolla, Wogalter, & Watson, 2005;
Morrell, 2002), especially with specific training (Temple &
Gavillet, 1990). Their use of the technology is based on a more
reflective and utilitarian approach, rather than trial-and-error
strategies, leading to different uses of ICT (Docampo Rama,
2001). Moreover, they consider the utility of ICT before they
adopt the technology, in particular communication technology
as a means of compensating for their mobility difficulties
(Melenhorst, 2002).
Enhancing Creativity in Older Adults
Despite the decline of certain cognitive and sensory functions
in the elderly (Linderberger & Baltes, 1994), their enhanced
“practical intelligence” helps in decision-making and can pro-
mote certain forms of creativity. According to King and Kitch-
ener (1994), elderly and better educated subjects score more
highly in tests of judgement, which has implications for study
of the evolution of creativity and critical thinking skills across
the life span from a developmental perspective, as well as of the
specific development of these competencies through training.
Critical thinking and creativity are considered throughout the
life span as a competency that can be enhanced by specific
training. For this reason, creativity has been included in educa-
tional policy and the education curriculum in different countries
(Shaheen, 2010). However, most of the work carried out in the
development of critical thinking skills has been done in
face-to-face contexts. In the context of online learning, Muir-
head (2004) also notes that specific course materials and activi-
ties may be developed to enhance online learners’ reflective
skills. Bullen’s research (1998) considers the relation between
participation and creativity in online discussions, observing the
influence of four major factors: cognitive maturity, teaching
style of the instructor, students’ prior learning experiences and
degree of understanding of the critical thinking process. The
online teacher’s role is to help eliminate myths about creativity
with a view to developing the potential of the online learners.
The relationship between successful aging and creative activ-
ity is studied by Fisher and Specht (1999). The results indicate
that successful aging comprises six features, namely a sense of
purpose, interaction with others, personal growth, self-accep-
tance, autonomy and health. Creative activity fosters a sense of
competence, purpose and growth and hence contributes to suc-
cessful aging. Recent studies, however, show that some older
adults deliberately reject the use of computers, preferring to
pursue other activities such as handicrafts and use of other
audiovisual media (Hakkarainen & Hyvönen, 2010).
Considering the specificities of elderly persons and opportu-
nities for enhancing creativity with the use of ICT, we aim to
highlight three major aspects that may be taken into account in
the design of computer-supported collaborative creativity
spaces for use by the elderly. First, the ergonomy of the ICT
should reflect the decline of sensory capacities among the eld-
erly in the design of interfaces. Second, in respect of the reflec-
tive process of the elderly, we propose computer-supported
collaborative creative spaces where guidance focuses clearly on
reducing trial-and-error in the process of understanding. Third,
the computer-supported collaborative creative spaces should
make explicit the utility of ICT in the creative process in order
to increase its acceptability among the elderly. Finally, we
should consider the value to the elderly of technology for
communication when they face mobility problems. In this case,
computer-supported spaces may help to solve everyday life
challenges and bring part of the community to the elderly per-
This study is developed within the CoCreat project that has
been funded with support from the European Commission
(LifeLong Learning Programme). This publication reflects the
views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held
responsible for any use, which may be made of the information
contained therein. The CoCreat partners involved in this study
belongs to University of Oulu (Finland) and Universitat Oberta
de Catalunya (Spain).
Copyright © 2012 SciRe s .
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