Stead, R. (2019) Building the abstract: metaphorical Play-Doh® modelling in Health Sciences, in The Power of Play in HE. Eds. A. James and C. Nerrantzi, Palgrave
The use of collaborative, playful LEGO® modelling activities in the higher education classroom is a memorable approach which helps students make connections in their learning by facilitating engagement and critical discussion with peers. Here we evaluate the use of LEGO® Serious Play® (LSP), a theory-driven, evidence-based pedagogy, during a revision session. Our novel methodology engaged student partners in study design by seeking their views on excellence in teaching and learning and how this could be operationalised to evaluate the effectiveness of our innovative approach to revision. We demonstrate how this collaborative approach provides a holistic view of teaching excellence which can be used in the evaluation of teaching in a higher education setting.
Teaching anatomy to veterinary students is challenging, and using two-dimensional (2D) representations may limit the opportunity for learners to make the connections required to fully appreciate the complex structures involved and the relationships between them. This research considered the implementation of three-dimensional (3D) modeling using Play-Doh with learners to consider whether they were able to make effective representations that may then support further learning. The evidence from teacher observations and student feedback suggests that, despite some initial hesitation surrounding the use of what some might perceive as a toy in the higher education classroom, the learners believed that the approach allowed improvement in terms of their understanding, knowledge retention and recall. They reported that the approach enabled greater visualization of the structures they were representing. For teachers, the approach has the advantage that the material is cheap, readily available, easily manipulated, can be reused, and needs no sophisticated technology.
While defining resilience is recognised as complex with recent research highlighting the disparity of interpretations, there is however, a common appreciation of the wide range of contributory factors impacting on students’ resilience within the Higher Education sector. These can include but are not limited to, an increasingly competitive environment for graduate jobs, increased financial pressure from student tuition fees, alongside the more traditional concerns of moving away from home and transitioning towards greater independence. Building on previous research at the University of Surrey with high achieving students, this paper outlines the development and delivery of a student focused workshop designed to enable the participants to build their understanding of resilience using different but complementary pedagogic approaches: LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® and Concept Mapping. The case study included within this paper demonstrates one student’s reflection of the workshop and previous experiences which have contributed to their own resilience. What has become apparent at the University of Surrey, and more broadly within the UK Higher Education sector, is that universities have a vital role to play in fostering positive mindsets amongst students and developing strong and resilient independent learners.
Anthoney J, Stead R, Turney K (2017) Making Connections and Building Resilience: developing workshops with undergraduates, Knowledge Management & E-Learning: An International Journal 9 (3) pp. 404-418 Hong Kong Bao Long Accounting & Secretarial Limited