Imagination: A Child’s 21st Century Super Power

Literature Review of Imagination in Education and Learning in partnership with Bath Spa University and House of Imagination.

We live in a rapidly changing world where disruption and change has become familiar and regular. While this has an impact across all of society, our younger generations are growing up in a world that will become increasingly uncertain, having an impact on the way they learn, live and work. Imagination, humanity’s greatest faculty, has the potential to support and aid us as we navigate this changing world. Yet imagination in education and learning is being increasingly undervalued. In England the education system is heavily and overly assessed, creative subjects like art and design have been marginalised, school budgets have suffered from real term cuts, the curriculum has narrowed and the government measures success in education through targets, results, and league tables. 

To assess the power of imagination in education and learning, we need to better understand its potential and impact. This literature review, led by the Institute of Imagination in partnership with Bath Spa University and House of Imagination, begins a renewed focus on the research and evidence of the power of imagination and its capacity to support children and young people’s learning about the world and how they respond to its emerging challenges. 

This Literature Review is just the beginning of a journey to gain a deeper understanding of imagination in education and learning through research . Our first conclusion is that there is further work to be done to review the full list of literature identified and to source further literature from a wider network within the imagination community. 

The review has also led to the emergence of the Imagination Wheel, a constructive interpretation and classification of how we understand imagination in education and learning, particularly through the work of The Institute of Imagination and House of Imagination. We hope the wheel will help inform and inspire the activities of these charities and others working in the field. 

Read the full Literature Review. 

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