Suppose you concretely quantified a student's degree of CURIOSITY. How might their learning, their engineering solutions, their career (and life) change if their curiosity were, say, doubled? Certainly, there would be upsides and downsides. Thinking might be less linear, less patterned, perhaps even controversial. But controlled, directed, and productive curiosity is at the root of discovery. The good news is that research shows that CURIOSITY can be increased. Curiosity is invaluable for uncovering essential and unexpected information that shapes engineering solutions to their maximum potential. Indeed, that's the aspirational goal of partner institutions in KEEN.
This card is about understanding CURIOSITY in depth and within an entrepreneurial mindset. The KEEN Framework provides a starting point for two student outcomes related to curiosity. Students should:
- Demonstrate constant curiosity about the changing world around us.
- Explore a contrarian view of accepted solutions.
Turning the CURIOSITY
outcomes into questions is also helpful. Students achieving these outcomes will ask:
• "What changes affect our future?"
• "How can we __________ differently? better?"
These are likely elements of an entrepreneurial mindset but they are not intended to be a complete description of curiosity. Rather, within KEEN, these form a "starter set" for curiosity-related outcomes. To reach these outcomes, design exercises so that students:
• Investigate trends,
• Generate their own questions,
• Challenge assumptions,
• Investigate areas of their own choosing,
• Assume the role of a “futurist,” supporting predictions,
• Act on their curiosity,
• Consider multiple points of view,
• Create a positive atmosphere of constructive criticism,
• Offer considered, pertinent feedback to peers and authorities,
• Examine data that supports unpopular solutions.
If curiosity is going to become part of a mindset, part of a disposition, then the goal of educational interventions is to exercise situational
curiosity to increase a student’s dispositional
To dive deeper, research literature describes characteristics of curiosity itself, including:
- Epistemic vs. Diversive Curiosity
- Epistemic curiosity investigates underlying reasons, asking "Why?" while diverse curiosity considers possibilities, asking "What if?". For example, see Berlyne or Litman, et. al. in the research folder.
- Situational vs. Dispositional Curiosity
- Situational curiosity is generated from surrounding circumstances while dispositional curiosity describes an attitudinal propensity to be curious. For example, see Kashdan and Roberts in the research folder.
- Reductive vs. Inductive Curiosity
- Reductive curiosity is motivated by "wanting" while inductive curiosity is characterized by "liking" new information. For example, see Litman below.
See the folders below for the following:
- An expanded description of the curiosity-related outcomes
- Research references and perspectives on curiosity
- One short example of "curiosity" in curriculum
- A collection of websites and cards that you can use to promote "curiosity" connected to your educational goals
- Tools for Curiosity