Fostering university students’ idea generation and idea evaluation skills with a cognitive-based creativity training

Kim van Broekhoven*, Barbara Belfi, Ian Hocking, Rolf van der Velden

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This paper examines the effectiveness of a 10-hour cognitive-based creativity training on idea generation and idea evaluation among 51 undergraduate students (mean age 22) from a large university in the Netherlands. A pre-post-test within-subject design was conducted. All 51 students received the training as part of their bachelor program, and were assigned to receive the training in the first or second semester. As such, students participated in both experimental conditions (control and intervention), albeit at different times (within-subject design). The Alternative Uses Task (AUT) and specially designed idea evaluation tasks were used before and after the training. In the idea evaluation task, students were asked to evaluate ideas on their originality and feasibility. Their ratings were compared with content experts’ ratings. General Linear Models (GLM) for repeated measures were conducted to determine whether any change in idea generation and idea evaluation is the result of the interaction between type of treatment (i.e. intervention or control group) and time (pre- and post-test). The results indicated that students did not generate significantly more (i.e. fluency) and different kind of ideas (i.e. flexibility) after training. Most importantly, in line with recent research, the results suggested that training does not impact idea evaluation skills among students. This suggests that idea evaluation might be a more complex process to enhance than idea generation. The implications of these results for educational practice and future research are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-308
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • cognitive-based creativity training
  • idea generation
  • idea evaluation
  • divergent thinking
  • Convergent thinking


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