Creative and Relational Thinkers: The Potential of LEGO® Serious Play®: A New L&T Project

IMG_2630Innovative pedagogy utilising LEGO® Serious Play® (LSP) has the potential to enhance enquiry-based learning for both educators and students. Innovative LSP modelling presents opportunities for students to explore their thinking on ways that enhance their learning experiences, develops creative enquiry skills and fosters teamwork and self-reflection. The outcome offers learning that is more relational and less instrumental (Skemp, 1976).

Potentially transformative approaches to learning and teaching are emerging across the sector, including flipped classrooms, double-loop learning and bricolage (Sharples et al, 2014). We believe that the LSP methodology has potential to support and enhance these innovations through a social constructivist inclusive learning experience.

LSP is a facilitated meeting, communication and problem-solving process that was developed in 1996 initially in a business context as a change management tool. It has since been adopted in Higher Education to support teaching & learning, research, and ideation. In a LSP workshop each participant builds a series of 3D LEGO® models in response to the facilitator’s questions. The metaphors produced by the 3D models serve as a powerful basis for deep group discussion, knowledge sharing and problem solving. They foster creative thinking and finding unique solutions using skills of critical reflection. This methodology utilises visual, auditory and kinesthetic skills and the methodology serves as a shared language regardless of culture or position.

“You can learn more about a person in an hour of play than you can from a lifetime of conversation” – Plato

Sharples, M. et al (2014). Innovating Pedagogy 2014: Open University Innovation Report 3. Milton Keynes: The Open University. Skemp, R. R. (1976). Relational understanding and instrumental understanding. Mathematics Teaching, 77, 20-26.


Project Leads
Sarah King – Academic Practice Advisor, Centre for Learning and Academic Development

Danielle Hinton – Learning Design Consultant, College of Social Sciences

Project Start / End 1 August 2015 – 31 July 2017

University of Birmingham Educational Enhancement Project Funding Offered by the Centre for Learning and Academic Development (CLAD) and Learning Spaces with support from the Alumni Impact Fund

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