Challenge Based Learning nurtures creative thinking: An evaluative study

Zhi YANG, Ying ZHOU, Wai Yee Joanne CHUNG, Qiubi TANG, Lian JIANG, Thomas K.S. WONG

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlespeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The demand for more creative and innovative nurses and together with the rapid expansion of nurse education in Mainland China have called for new approaches to student learning. Challenge Based Learning, an active student-directed approach was incorporated into an elective course in an undergraduate nursing programme. Initially, the students were given some big ideas about the real world. They worked together in small groups to identify the most challenging problems from these ideas, develop some innovative solutions, formulate an action plan for a selected solution, carry out the actions and evaluate the outcome.
Objectives: To evaluate the effectiveness of Challenge Based Learning on students' creativity and innovativeness.
Design: Quasi-experimental.
Settings: A medical university in Guangzhou, China.
Method and Participants: A convenience sample of 48 undergraduate nursing students from the bilingual class, who enrolled in the elective course, Innovation and Creative Thinking was invited to participate in the evaluative study. They completed the Creativity and Innovation Effectiveness Profile before and after the course.
Results: Apart from descriptive statistics, the mean scores of the Creativity and Innovation Effectiveness Profile between the pretest and posttest assessments were analyzed using the Wilcoxon signed ranks test. The results showed that the mean scores of all 7 domains (i.e. creative consciousness, levels of curiosity, pattern breaking skills, idea nurturing ability, willingness to experiment and take risks, courage and resilience and energetic persistence) of Creativity and Innovation Effectiveness were significantly higher in the posttest.
Conclusion: Students can enhance their ability to innovate and create through learning. The successful practical experience of using CBL in the study provides a good reference for nurse teachers who want their students to be self-directed, creative and innovative. Copyright © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-47
JournalNurse Education Today
Early online dateSept 2018
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018


Yang, Z., Zhou, Y., Chung, J. W. Y., Tang, Q., Jiang, L., & Wong, T. K. S. (2018). Challenge Based Learning nurtures creative thinking: An evaluative study. Nurse Education Today, 71, 40-47. doi: 10.1016/j.nedt.2018.09.004


  • Challenge Based Learning
  • Innovation and creativity
  • Measure of creativity and innovativeness
  • Undergraduate nursing students


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