[Week 2 Reflection] Creative Learning Spiral


We explored the Creative Learning Spiral as a way to think about the creative process.

How would you describe or draw your own creative learning process?

Feel free to remix the spiral!

This post is also available in Italiano, Português, Español (Spanish), 日本語 (Japanese), עברית (Hebrew)

Week 2 - Creative Process
Creative Learning Process
unlisted #2

listed #3


This spiral is actually a basic pattern of growth in all things, incorporating the different relationships and processes of life (input and output processes, plus first person, second person, third person, and fourth person relationships/perspectives). This looping pattern is literally the movement of a particle in a wave (in the ocean), which is what our thoughts are, essentially, being pushed and pulled by information we get from the outside world.

And… this learning pattern corresponds to another pattern that you might be surprised by: the stages of grief, as described by Elizabeth Kübler-Ross. It turns out that grieving is a learning process!

I have relabeled the stages of grief to be more universally applicable. It’s all a big cycle/spiral, so you can really start anywhere when you describe it. But both of the ones here start in similar locations.

Here is a diagram:

I would say that this maps to Mitch’s process in the following way:

  1. Surprise/Confusion : (those dots before the first Imagine!)
  2. Irrational Reaction : Imagine
  3. Testing : Create/Play/Share
  4. Letting Go : Reflection
  5. Resolution : Imagine
  6. Expertise : Create


I have recently become obssessed with spirals and how they represent both the physical and the psychological and emotional world.

My process includes research, getting stuck, and reflection as well.


I recently made a playful Scratch project to reflect my current state of mind through the creative learning spiral. Feel free to remix!


I really like that you included ‘get stuck’ in your spiral! It is a very natural part of any creative learning process, and we often don’t recognize it.


I really like how you included the axes of emotional and intellectual energy. There have been several times when I have hit point 4 on your chart. This point is the most discouraging and yet a critical point in learning.


I started by following the tutorial precisely but as I developed in confidence and understanding, I began to incorporate design ideas of my own and played around with different effects. I then tinkered with combining tutorial ideas (such as colour changing) with different motion options. I reflected on projects I have done with my class and remembered we had got sprites to spin but couldn’t recall how… A quick google and a look inside someone else’s project and I sorted it - my vision was complete.

However, after sharing my project and looking at other examples, I wanted to change how to get my animation started so that clicking the green flag activated the project rather than clicking on individual letters so I made some more changes //

But the spiral will continue - maybe not with this project (not enough time!) - in that I will take this experience into future projects; I will think of what else I could try to achieve.

However, the spiral will not continue in a neat concentric way; the starting point of creativity will grow off-shoots of new creative spirals which in turn will generate new spirals, some of which may circle back and inter-link with each other… no idea spirals in isolation (but I don’t know how to show that visually!)


Excellent spiral. I’m stuck trying to make Scratch follow a red line so I’ll do a little research.



I’ve been teaching Scratch for one month and using it for one week longer than that. I have an older account (not a teacher’s account) that I had not ever used until recently, when the process of preparing to teach in/of the medium opened something up. Scratch altered my creative process, in other media too, over the course of just a few days, partly because the spirit of remixing is powerful, and also because the medium makes the ongoing re-iteration of one’s own ideas alluring. Scratch gives me a strong sense that a project should never reach its final form, and this changes creativity.

For the Scratch community, I have a question about making organizational decisions at the Studio level (e.g., decisions in which we classify projects). How do these decisions impact subsequent decisions, e.g. make you likely or unlikely to try something new? Are these decisions equivalent to those made by an artist cultivating a portfolio, an archivist cultivating records, or (particularly in the case of a teaching account) an artist, art-teacher, or atelierista preparing a studio? These perhaps seemingly self-evident organizational decisions must have a great consequence over time. I wonder what others think, and would be particularly interested if the Scratch Team has researched the question.



This is great. I wish it had more dimension to show what I perceive as distance between the lines crossing near 3 and 5.


I agree on 4. FAIL is discouraging in my view because we have taught that it’s an end rather than a beginning. People who fail a lot know 4 is actually a rich place of discovery.


Here’s my Creative Learning Spiral -


Yes Alex! There is a third dimension which isn’t visible in this. I call it the “philosophical” or moral dimension where we increase in fitness, in an evolutionary sense, as we learn how to incorporate our own ideas and goals into the ideas and goals of the rest of the world (and universe).

The whole pattern is essentially a corkscrew shape, with four dimensions (including time/physical). Some day, I want to make a full 3D model of the pattern that I can share.


I really enjoyed this exercise and now I am thinking of having my students have a go at making a graphical representation of how they design and create.
I realized as I worked on my creative learning spiral that I include sharing and dialogue (both internal and external) throughout the whole process. There’s a lot of thinking and talking going on.
I also thought I would go ahead and incorportate making mistakes into the spiral because I can’t think of a single thing I have ever done in my life that I did perfectly the first time. So I am just going to go ahead and embrace those mistakes as part of my learning process. I figure if I do that right from the start, they won’t seem like a disappointment.

Screen Shot 2017-10-25 at 4.43.23 PM


You will probably find some interest in my current work. The pattern alphabet is all nature’s patterns for growth and form. I’m thinking how I want a creative spiral based on these.


Alex, thanks for sharing that. I have a way to see all possible patterns, by using Pascal’s triangle, but it only just now occurred to me that I haven’t officially included curved patterns in any obvious way. I’m going to have to think about how that works. Thanks! (Though I will say that the Fibonacci sequence is in Pascal’s triangle, so the spiral is in there. But I haven’t described it so far, so that’s something I need to remember to do!)


I am convinced I tend to be more self centred in the “share” phase.
The way I work is imagine - create - play - realise it could be better - imagine how - create - play - …

But I have to admit that I have worked with my son who added some features to the project enriching it, so it is not completely true that I don’t share!!!

Another characteristic: I am SLOW, I usually cannot think much in a short period of time, but if you let me sleep over it, the next morning I usually wake up with a lot of new ideas!


for me the creative includes sensory, being able to to feel through the senses…the computer is not really my go to for creativity however it is interesting to be able to use the computer to represent ideas around creativity…
having said that alot of nature (re Alex’s post) is so very interesting to see creativity in action

i love the snail/spiral as a metaphor for iterative learning (and children that I work with outdoors are obsessed with snails and the spiral shape)…moving from inner to outer or outer to inner conciousness