Case Study 1: Playful Team Reflection Using LEGO® Serious Play®

Case Study 1: Playful Team Reflection Using LEGO® Serious Play®

Tobias Seidl
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 4
DOI: 10.4018/IJGBL.2017070108
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Teamwork and cooperation are important 21st century skills and therefore important parts of the higher education curriculum. Following Kolb's ‘experiential learning cycle' model a combination of project work and moderated reflection can help students to acquire these skills. This article elaborates how LEGO® Serious Play® (LSP) an be used to stimulate and moderate student's reflection on their teamwork skills in the setting of a university course. A focus is placed on the process and goals of the LSP method, the implementation in the workshop and the benefits of using LSP for this reason.
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Effective teamwork and cooperation are important 21st century skills (Binkley et al, 2012). Therefore, educators at universities and colleges need to design and implement adequate learning scenarios to support students to acquire these skills. According to Binkley effective teamwork requires the following skills:

  • Interact Effectively with Others

    • o

      Speak with clarity and awareness of audience and purpose. Listen with care, patience, and honesty

    • o

      Conduct themselves in a respectable, professional manner

  • Work Effectively in Diverse Teams

    • o

      Leverage social and cultural differences to create new ideas and increase both innovation and quality of work

  • Manage Projects

    • o

      Prioritize, plan, and manage work to achieve the intended group result

  • Guide and Lead Others

    • o

      Use interpersonal and problem-solving skills to influence and guide others toward a goal

    • o

      Leverage strengths of others to accomplish a common goal

    • o

      Inspire others to reach their very best via example and selflessness

    • o

      Demonstrate integrity and ethical behavior in using influence and power (Binkley et al., 2012, p. 47)

To give students the possibility to acquire these skills extensive group projects are integrated in our curriculum. As a kick-off to these project-based learning scenarios, students participate in a theoretical workshop on effective teamwork. However, the theoretical knowledge and working in teams alone does not automatically help students to develop the necessary skills. Following Kolb’s (1984) ‘experiential learning cycle’ model the key lies in the observation of and reflection on experience – here the process of working together within the project groups. But how can you effectively stimulate and moderate student’s reflection on their teamwork skills? This case study describes how the LEGO® Serious Play® (LSP) method can be used to achieve this in a playful way.

LSP is a facilitated meeting, communication and problem-solving process in which participants are led through a series of questions, probing deeper and deeper into the subject. Each participant builds their own LEGO® model in response to the facilitator's questions using LEGO® bricks. These models and their metaphorical content serve as a basis for group discussion, knowledge sharing, problem solving and decision making. (LEGO, n. d.)

General goals of the method are:

  • Creating leaning in and motivating participants to engage in the process

  • Unlocking new knowledge

  • Breaking habitual thinking

The LSP method is based on ideas and concepts from different fields of studies (cf. Kristiansen/Rasmussen, 2014): the importance of play as a way to learn through exploration and storytelling, constructionism, the hand-mind connection as a new path for creative and expressive thinking, and the role of the different kinds of imagination. The core-working process of LSP follows four steps:

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