Playful learning in higher education: developing a signature pedagogy

Rikke Toft Nørgård, Claus Toft-Nielsen, Nicola Whitton*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Increased focus on quantifiable performance and assessment in higher education is creating a learning culture characterised by fear of failing, avoidance of risk, and extrinsic goal-oriented behaviours. In this article, we explore possibilities of a more playful approach to teaching and learning in higher education through the metaphor of the ‘magic circle’. This approach stimulates intrinsic motivation and educational drive, creates safe spaces for academic experimentation and exploration, and promotes reflective risk-taking, ideation, and participation in education. We present a model of playful learning, drawing on notions of signature pedagogies, field literature, and two qualitative studies on learner conceptions of enjoyment and reasons for disengagement. We highlight the potential of this approach to invite a different mind-set and environment, providing a formative space in which failure is not only encouraged, but a necessary part of the learning paradigm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)272-282
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Play
Volume6
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sept 2017
Externally publishedYes

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