Y. Kunter1, M. Macintyre2, A. Macintyre3, C. Martin2

1Play Consultant (UNITED KINGDOM)
2University of Warwick (UNITED KINGDOM)
3Royal Holloway University of London (UNITED KINGDOM)
The association of play with creativity is widely accepted and understood. The constructs of play have been researched and consensus, at the more abstracted level at least, has been reached. Higher education uses play pedagogically in an ad hoc manner. The learning outcomes generally understood as developing creative thinking.
The aim of this work is to qualify the outcomes that can be expected from a post graduate and/or professional learning experience enabling better design and expectations setting for future courses.

In order to make sense of the vast amount of data is being produced and shared in this conceptual age, we need to first connect to our own intrinsic motivations, emotions and ideas in order to make discoveries to be able to move from our comfort zones.
Play enables us to see the unseen, to predict what is not yet invented and imagine new possibilities.

Initially a focus group comprising leading industry experts was consulted to inform expected learning outcomes from a Play workshop. The consensus was and expectation of ‘out of the box;’ thinking and a mind-set change in employees to become more outcomes oriented; enhanced creativity in solution generation. This led to the design of the workshop by a play expert and subject matter experts which would utilise play to challenge world views held by the participants.

Play brings out the hidden potentials, belief systems, visions, and intuitions of people and creates deeper connections within their worlds and with others’ worlds. It sets secure settings for the participant to feel comfortable enough to examine a variety of possibilities through unknown perspectives and create new connections in order to form new meanings.

This process needs a platform that is flexible, open, intuitive and adaptable. Participants switch between abstract thinking using representations to realistic reflections within their domains. The aim of this methodology is to be able to break the conventions, increase engagement and cultivate diverse ways of relating and communicating.

Over 20 one day play workshops internationally or to international groups, approximately 18 participants, were delivered as part of a postgraduate Masters qualification or as a professional development workshops over a period of 4 years. Reflection of over 150 participants was reviewed employing a two-tiered thematic analysis consisting of both semantic and latent theme analysis.

Play is contextual; it needs a context to explore, define, experiment and create new meanings. Representation, reflection, symbolic adaption, manipulative different symbolic meaning with a layer of imaginary play.

Play recognized that the metaphoric avatar creation activities deeply impacts in the vision creation of others. It is the first step in taking personal risk. Representative fantasy-like worlds become a metaphor of the organization. Communicating without words, it plays back the organisational dynamics in an unthreatening insightful way, Experimenting and exploring an issue from a complete different perspective is one of quickest ways to bring a new solution. Engineering a product and finding answers to the same problem after being involved with it for years is very hard.

This work goes someway to deconstruct expectations of learning outcomes from participating in the experience of play as a holistic pedagogical approach. Play can be used successfully to conceptualise the future.