About the Playful Learning Association

2024/25 Chairs: Katie Piatt and Andrew Walsh

Anyone with an interest in playful learning for adults who shares our values is invited to be a member of the Playful Learning Association. New members can join by signing up to our email list. That’s all you have to do!

Although many members work in UK Higher Education we welcome members from around the world and from private companies, public sector training or whoever you are!

The aims of the Playful Learning Association are:

  • To share research evidence and experiential practice in the area of play, games and learning.
  • To provide a forum for discussion and collaboration to support the development of outputs such as journal articles, practitioner guidance, seminars, and research proposals.
  • To create a supportive community for new practitioners and researchers in the field as well as those who are more established.

The primary areas of interest of the Playful Learning Association are:

  • The use of all types of games, digital and traditional, online and real world.
  • The practice, as well as the theory, of play and learning.
  • The use of playful approaches with adults, in formal and informal contexts.
a strip of photos of PLA activities including Lego and VR goggles

History of the Association
This group began back in 2010 as the ALT Games and Learning Special Interest Group, later becoming the Playful Learning Special Interest Group (PLSIG). In the summer of 2019 members of the group recognised that the group had grown beyond the remit of ALT and agreed to become a separate body to allow a broader range of members and interests as part of this new association. We would like to thank ALT for all the support they showed this group over the past 10 years.

The original Games and Learning group in 2010
The original Games and Learning group in 2010 – back when we were young!

Any member who is keen to take a more active role in the association is invited to volunteer to be on the committee. This involves tasks such as:

  • Contributing content to the website/monthly news round-up
  • Reviewing sessions for the Playful Learning conference
  • Regular attendance at the conference and/or face to face meetings (at least one event a year).

Committee membership will be annually reviewed, but as long as the requirements have been met a committee member can remain on the committee for as long as they want and step down at any time.

2024/25 Committee: Daisy Abbott, Katie Piatt, Rosie Jones, Giskin Day, Andy Walsh, Jane Mooney, Paul Hollins, Mathias Poulsen, Liz Cable, Simon Grey, Rikke Toft Nørgärd, Mark Childs, Simon Brookes, Alison James, Elliott Spaeth (Inclusivity Consultant).

Chairs: Every two years, one of the two association chairs will be rotated (after serving a four year term)

At that point (next time is October 2025 as Andy Walsh was appointed from the October 2023 round), any committee member who has met the attendance requirements may nominate themselves to stand as the new Chair. The nominees will have a task (chosen by the two current chairs) which will typically involve producing some sort of playful pitch for the rest of the committee to then vote on, resulting in an announcement at the November face-to-face meeting.

Association Chairs are expected to undertake the following tasks:

  • Manage the PLA website and monthly news round-ups
  • Organise the annual meeting cycle ensuring two face to face meetings (November and March)
  • Liaise with colleagues hosting the face to face meetings
  • Ensure governance for the PLA is in place and upheld.
  • At least one of the Chairs must attend each face to face event (including the conference).

The PLA is aligned with the Journal of Play in Adulthood. PLA members are encouraged to submit articles to this journal and articles will be featured in monthly PLA news round-ups.