OODA Alpha, Part XII: Creativity

Science advances. While a literature on creativity exists in the OODA program of research (Boyd, 1976b), it draws on the conception of creativity as a fundamentally different form of thinking (Osinga, 2007). Modern research is converging on the realization that whatever creativity is, it is not the result of processes that are different than other forms of thinking (Kalyuga, Chandler, & Sweller, 1998; Kalyuga, et al., 2003; Kalyuga & Sweller, 2005; van Merrienboer & Sweller, 2005; Weisberg 1986, 1993, 2006;). Therefore, the antiquated sources of the original OODA paradigm (Osinga, 2007, 79) are set aside and modern research on creativity is examined in light of the observation-orientation-decision-action learning cycle.

Creativity is an understudied field within educational psychology (Plucker, Beghetto, & Dow, 2004). Creativity is defined as production that is “novel and interesting and valuable” (Simon, 2001) and is essentially an unstructured social process between individuals and already acknowledged experts in a field (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996). That is, creativity is not seen merely as divergent thinking , which may well be part of a special potential for creativity, (Torrance, 1968; 1993; Plucker, 1999) or only useful for studying the past (Simonton, 1984) which is certainly part of creativity, but rather the production of the novel, the interesting, the valuable whenever and wherever it occurs as long as it is recognized by an appropriate audience.


Creativity is also studied under the term expertise (Feldon, 2007a). When researchers speak of expertise as something that is either present or not, conclusions are made such as that it requires ten years of purposeful practice (Ericcson, Krampe, & Tesch-Romer, 1993). Another way of viewing expertise, as something that can exist in greater or lesser quantity, involves a recognition that more creative or expert people work more effortless (Kalyuga & Sweller, 2005) and efficiently (Ericsson & Lehmann, 1996) in a task.

Expertise is largely a matter of superior memorization (Anderson, 1980). Studies of chess grand masters revealed that chess grand masters had better memory for valid chess moves than novices (De Groot, 1965) but similar memory for nonsensical chess positions (Chase & Simon, 1973) it supports the contention that differences in long term memory alone may be the cause of exceptional skill (Sweller, 2004a). van Merrienboer & Sweller (2005) describe this view succinctly when they write that “expertise comes from knowledge stored in [long term memory] schemata, not from an ability to engage in reasoning with many elements that have not been organized in long-term memory. Human working memory simply is not able to process many elements (149-150).

While the contention that learners should develop mostly on their own (Bruner, 1961) has been criticized in recent years (Kirschner, Sweller, & Clark, 2006), young adults building expertise in the real world have no choice but to engage in this constructivist behavior. Therefore, creative and expertise individuals must be able to compensate for their poor self-constructed learning environment to be able to build up the schemata necessary for high-level performance.

An OODA perspective on creativity would encourage educators to reorient learners so that they develop mastery, acquire expertise and produce creative products, over a long period time on their own. In other words, motivational orientation is the key outcome Educators who wish their students to become creative and expert later in life should internalize the proper attitudes in them in a way that minimizes the role of decided-upon ends.


OODA Alpha, a tdaxp series
1. Abstract
2. Dual Processing Systems
3. The OODA Loop
4. Decision
5. Orientation
6. A Theory of Mind
7. Reorientation
8. Disorientation
9. Education
10. Instruction
11. Student Interaction
12. Creativity
13. Conclusion
14. Bibliography

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