Did you know that there is a growing interest in the virtues of play and fun in adult learning? Do you know about the approaches that use these elements in elearning? Did you know that games can have a place in higher education and that some university professors are seriously exploring their potential? Do you know the tips teachers should follow before using games, humour or any other playful process in front of an adult class? Test your knowledge on these tricky topics by answering the following five questions.
1. True or false? In online learning, gamification is training built entirely like a game.
In elearning, a course built entirely like a game is called a “serious game.” In contrast, gamification consists of integrating game-like mechanisms into the course design: challenges, rewards, personal progress, etc.
Gamification makes a course more fun and, therefore, less dry and uses the benefits of games for learning. While games are essential to the development of children, we now know that they also have educational benefits for adults, enabling them to develop their values and attitudes: openness to new experiences, curiosity, risk-taking and the ability to learn from failure.
Find out more: Gamification in 3 questions
2. Which of the following statements was found in a recent study on the relevance of games as a learning strategy in higher education?
A) are underutilized and devalued in higher education.
B) cultivate relational safety and a warm classroom environment.
C) remove barriers to learning.
D) arouse positive affect and motivation in students.
E) trigger an open and engaged learning attitude to enhance learning.
ALL THESE ANSWERS
That’s what Lisa K. Forbes of the University of Colorado at Denver found in her study. From this, Forbes developed a theoretical model of how fun and play promote 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), pp. 57-73.
Her theoretical model, The Playful Learning Process Model, is found on page 71 of his study.
Find out more: Adult Learners and Play: 5 Research Findings
3. During the COVID-19 pandemic, two faculty members at the University of Colorado Denver created Professors at Play, a space to encourage the use of play and fun in higher education. Select the correct term to complete these two teachers’ statements about play in higher education.
Terms: hierarchical distance, bar too high, barrier, sophistication
A) In online learning, gaming is a preferred medium both to reduce the ________ that the computer screen poses in exchanges and enhance both learning and teaching experiences.
B) The game transcends tools and techniques and is embodied first and foremost in the teacher’s attitude and approach. One of its effects is to reduce the ________ between the teacher and the students.
C) The Web today offers many tools that can be used to benefit playful pedagogy, but what is most important is not so much the range or ________ of tools available as the idea of using them creatively to enable meaningful interactions.
D) For the teacher who wishes to integrate play into their practice, the important thing is to take small steps and to respect the teacher’s comfort level with play because it is true that it can become intimidating and oppressive if you set the ________.
The complete, correct statements are:
A) In online learning, gaming is a preferred medium to reduce the barrier that the computer screen poses in exchanges and enhance both learning and teaching experiences.
B) The game transcends tools and technology and is embodied first and foremost in the teacher’s attitude and approach. One of its effects is to reduce the hierarchical distance between the teacher and the students.
C) The Web today offers many tools that can be used to benefit playful pedagogy, but what is most important is not so much the range or sophistication of the tools available as the idea of using them creatively to enable meaningful interactions.
D) For the teacher who wants to integrate play into their practice, it is important to take small steps and respect their comfort level with play because it is true that it can become intimidating and oppressive if you set the bar too high.
Find out more: Is Having Fun in Higher Education the Way Forward?
4. Which of the following tips given by the two founders of Professors at Play to teachers who want to integrate play into their practice is wrong?
A) Reflect on “the narratives” of higher education, i.e., deconstruct its dominant narratives that have endured for generations, and consider what it means to be a member of a university department.
B) Define what classroom play means to oneself.
C) Avoid asking for help from a colleague at the risk of being discouraged from completing your project.
D) Dare, overcome shyness, and get out of your comfort zone.
On the contrary, the two founders of Professors at play strongly encourage teachers who want to integrate play into their practice to find a colleague, from their discipline or not, who can support them in this way.
Find out more: Is Having Fun in Higher Education the Way Forward?
5. Which statements about the use of play and humour in learning are true?
A) Adult brains learn best with stories.
B) Humor is essential to being a good teacher.
C) Humor can significantly help memorize information.
D) There are no rules to guide teachers in their use of humour in the classroom; they should rely only on their personality and spontaneity.
A. and C.
Here are some clarifications to the incorrect statements B. and D. :
- Humour is not necessary to be a good teacher! However, it is true that the learners better perceive a teacher who uses humour well in the classroom than a teacher who uses little of it.
- Yes, there are some rules that can guide teachers in their use of humour in the classroom to make their teaching more effective and avoid missteps. These include:
- Use humour only to emphasize key concepts.
- Avoid overuse: limit humour to 3 or 4 examples per hour.
- Adjust the degree of humour used according to the situation.
- Focus on “neutral” humour, so avoid humour dealing with taboo or sensitive topics that could create embarrassing situations or a sense of unfairness in the classroom.
Find out more:
Communication Strategist and Senior Editor @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.
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