Learning through play

A good colleague has given a presentation entitled Learning through play and has asked for my feedback on the recording of presentation. This also seems like a good opportunity to be reflexive on my stance on teaching and learning. So here I go. (I have been given some guiding questions to orientate my thinking—see the headings below).

Tally ho!

The central theme is on the design of teaching and learning activities that facilitate self directed study; i.e., where direct 'control' of the curriculum is not possible. The selected approach is one of a diagnostic questionnaire, that leads to the use of MCQ as a means of revision.

  • What is "fit for purpose of each individual learner"? The initial 'diagnostic' seems to be targeted a pigeonholing students in to particular 'problems'; a well know approach to professional work that comes with well know set of problems. I wonder how the problems with pigeonholing are addressed/considered.
  • That said, I like the 'sense' being made of the students responses to the initial diagnostic.
  • This approach feels like it is targeting students who have a fairly concrete epistemology (Perry et al., 1968). And that is probably fine in this discipline at this level.
  • The main point seems to be using MCQs as a means of driving additional thinking and revision of the course material … its all about motivating them to do more revision. So, does it empower students going forward from this course?
  • Is this more fun? It sounds something like the gamification of their study.
  • I wonder how this fits with the notion of self regulation of learning; does this replication for students how other (better) self regulators actually do it. Can they take the 'self regulation' they do here—through the MCQs—into other areas?
  • It is interesting to see how you find 'spaces' in which you can operate and seek to make a difference — despite having no control over things like content, etc.
  • Where is the play?
  • I wonder if any analysis has been done to see if the students in subsequent courses do better/the same/worse than one might expect given their results in this course.
  • Overall, this seems feels as if it is a remedial process focusing on the bottom of the class. Does this move the whole class forward/upward or just a small minority from the bottom of the cohort (that's not a criticism, just a point of curiosity).


Perry, W. G., Sprinthall, N. A., Wideman, J. W., & Jones, F. J. (1968). Patterns of development in thought and values of students in a liberal arts college: A validation of a scheme. Retrieved from

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