Playful Learning

The Journal article was called ‘Playful learning in higher education: developing a signature pedagogy’. The article encouraged activities to go beyond play or games as a means of enhancing engagement or increasing motivation as these can often have the reverse effect if overused. Instead it encouraged the use of a signature pedagogy to provide a model for playful learning that promoted deep learning.

Jo Conlon, who attended the session, created a visual summary of Shulman’s signature pedagogies to help colleagues understand the model for playful learning (see opposite):

The article sparked much discussion and applications of playful learning already adopted across the University. These included examples of using quizzes through the following audience response technologies:

The take home messages from the participants of the journal club at the end of the session were as follows:

  • Learning to fail is good and it is essential to help students do this in a safe environment
  • Always bear in mind what you are trying to do as an educator – come back to that – pedagogy first
  • Using signature pedagogies as a lens through which you can examine your own discipline and learn from other disciplines as well
  • Surface game element is less important than what is underneath it – need a reason to engage in a particular way
  • Communicate the game carefully and inclusively
  • Left me wondering how to design those playful experiences – need guidance and a starting point
  • It is good to bear in mind the outcome when you design and deliver the games – the attitude you have is important as well
  • Colleagues in SBS with final year project students can create a game – what can you do with them?
  • Take a risk as educators
  • Need evidence that playful learning works to ensure this is valued and colleagues are given the time to pursue this

Continue the conversation through our Yammer Pedagogy Journal Club.