The importance of play in children’s development and learning is well known, and research on the subject abounds. In recent years, more serious attention has been paid to the benefits of play for adults, particularly in learning. However, there is not nearly as much research on the impact of play on adult learners as on young learners. This is why a recent American study by Lisa Forbes on the relevance of play as a learning strategy in higher education deserves our attention. Here are her five findings on the subject!

A word about the researcher

Lisa K. Forbes, Ph.D., is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Counseling Program at the University of Colorado, Denver. She is also a licensed counselling professional and is studying to practice play therapy. In 2020, she and her colleague David Thomas created Professors at Play, a space for discussion, experience sharing and creativity to encourage the use of play and fun in higher education. In a previous article (Is Having Fun in Higher Education the Way Forward?), we discussed the visions of these two academics who are on a mission to find out how to make learning more effective through play and fun.

Infographic on the use of play in higher education


  1. is underused and devalued in higher education.
  2. cultivates relational security and a warm classroom environment.
  3. removes barriers to learning.
  4. arouses positive affect and motivation in students.
  5. triggers an open and engaged learning attitude to enhance learning

Study: Forbes Lisa K. The Process of Play in Learning in Higher Education: A Phenomenological Study. Journal of Teaching and LearningVol. 15, No. 1(2021),p.57-73.

Catherine Meilleur

Catherine Meilleur

Creative Content Writer @KnowledgeOne. Questioner of questions. Hyperflexible stubborn. Contemplative yogi.

Catherine Meilleur has over 15 years of experience in research and writing. Having worked as a journalist and educational designer, she is interested in everything related to learning: from educational psychology to neuroscience, and the latest innovations that can serve learners, such as virtual and augmented reality. She is also passionate about issues related to the future of education at a time when a real revolution is taking place, propelled by digital technology and artificial intelligence.