IDC theory: creation and the creation loop

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Tak-Wai Chan
Chee-Kit Looi
Ben Chang
Wenli Chen
Lung-Hsiang Wong
Su Luan Wong
Fu-Yun Yu
Jon Mason
Chen-Chung Liu
Ju-Ling Shih
Ying-Tien Wu
Siu-Cheung Kong
Longkai Wu
Tzu-Chao Chien
Calvin C. Y. Liao
Hercy Cheng
Zhi-Hong Chen
Chih-Yueh Chou


The interest-driven creator (IDC) theory is being developed as a group endeavor by Asian researchers to articulate a holistic learning design theory for future education in Asia. The theory hypothesizes that students, driven by interest, can be engaged in the creation of knowledge (generating ideas and artifacts). By repeating this creation process in their daily learning routines, they will excel in learning performance, develop twenty-first-century competencies, and form creation habits. We hope that with such practices in education, our future generations will ultimately become lifelong interest-driven creators. In IDC Theory, there are three anchored concepts, namely, interest, creation, and habit. Each anchored concept comprises three component concepts which form a concept loop. For example, the creation loop consists of three component concepts—imitatingcombining, and staging. Imitating is concerned with taking in (or inputting) an abundant amount of existing knowledge from the outside world to form one’s background knowledge. Combining refers to delivering (or outputting) new ideas or artifacts prolifically by synthesizing existing information encountered in the world and thoughts arising from the students’ background knowledge. Staging relates to frequently demonstrating the generated ideas or artifacts to the relevant communities and receiving feedback from these communities to improve the novelty and value of the demonstrated outcomes while gaining social recognition and nurturing positive social emotions. This paper focuses on describing the three components of the creation loop. We provide three case studies to illustrate the creation loop at work, as well as how it intertwines with both the interest and habit loops in supporting students to develop their creation capabilities. In presenting this iteration of the creation concept, an anchored concept in IDC theory, we acknowledge the roles played of imitation, combination, and staging in different learning and education contexts—indeed, there are multiple theories that inform and intersect with it.


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Chan, T.-W., Looi, C.-K., Chang, B., Chen, W., Wong, L.-H., Wong, S. L., Yu, F.-Y., Mason, J. ., Liu, C.-C. ., Shih, J.-L., Wu, Y.-T., Kong, S.-C., Wu, L., Chien, T.-C., Liao, C. C. Y., Cheng, H. ., Chen, Z.-H., & Chou, C.-Y. . (2019). IDC theory: creation and the creation loop. Research and Practice in Technology Enhanced Learning, 14. Retrieved from