The Planet Isn't the Only Thing Improving through Disney's Planet Challenge: Research Shows Participants Increase Creativity, Imagination and Test Scores

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John Fraser, PhD, AIA, is the director of the Institute for Learning Innovation based in Edgewater, Md. He led a study that assessed the creativity and imagination development in children under 12-years-old who participated in Disney's Planet Challenge.

What was the goal of the research?

We aimed to understand if Disney's Planet Challenge contributed to the development of imagination and creativity skills for participating youth.

How do you quantify such subjective areas?

In social sciences, we talk about truthfulness to the experience, not quantification. We took a 360-degree approach because kids are not able to self-reflect on their own learning process. Teachers and parents give us a much better picture of what's going on in kids' heads. So we spoke with kids who participated in a project, kids considered to be at the same level in the same school who did not participate in a project, teachers and parents.

What was the most significant finding?

Kids who participated in Disney's Planet Challenge became more capable of using their imagination and creativity skills. They became self-effective learners who could understand how to use their imagination and creativity skills in practical ways to address real-world problems.

How did participating in Disney's Planet Challenge help students score higher on standardized tests? …