Creative Learning


Jie Qi

Jie Qi

How the MIT Media Lab Learns, 
And How Everyone Else Can Learn This Way Too

Create | krēˈāt |: bring (something) into existence

We live in a world that is changing more rapidly than ever before. Much of what we learn today will be obsolete tomorrow. Success depends on our ability to think and act creatively.

To thrive, we must learn to imagine creatively, reason systematically, work collaboratively and learn continuously. This is true not just for individuals, but for companies, communities, and even nations as a whole.

At the MIT Media Lab, we are developing new technologies and strategies for cultivating creative learning. Our approach is based on four guiding principles:

  • Projects: We learn best when we are actively working on projects - generating new ideas, designing prototypes, making improvements and creating final products.
  • Passion: When we focus on things we care about, we work longer and harder, persist in the face of challenges, and learn more in the process.
  • Peers: Learning flourishes as a social activity, with people sharing ideas, collaborating on projects, and building on one another's work.
  • Play: Learning involves playful experimentation - trying new things, tinkering with materials, testing boundaries, taking risks, iterating again and again.

We apply these principles to our own work within the Media Lab, sparking creativity and innovation in our research. And we share our creative-learning ideas and technologies outside of the Lab, to help others engage in Media Lab-style learning.

Our goal: enable everyone everywhere to learn creatively - Preparing ourselves and others for life in tomorrow's rapidly-changing world.


Interested in engaging more deeply with these ideas? Check out Lifelong Kindergarten: Cultivating Creativity through Projects, Passion, Peers, and Play by Mitchel Resnick.