Meet Jenn – PLA member profile

Each month we will introduce a PLA member through 5 photos telling their Playful Learning journey.

Jennifer Smith, Instructional Design Officer, Durham University Business School

I was introduced to playful learning by Nic Whitton and went to my first conference in July 2019 and I haven’t looked back! Learning to give yourself and others permission to play in a safe environment is key. It is not all silliness but there is a time and place for silly, you just have to know when.

Photo of someone popping a balloon by standing on it
Developing a taxonomy through balloon popping #PlayLearn19

My first experience with designing something ‘fun’ or a game would be when I worked with Professor Christos Tsinopoulos to design and develop an adaptation of the famous MIT Beer Game for our online MBA Module Operations and Technology. This allows the students to understand and coordinate a supply chain but doing it online via email and discussion forums. It has a bit of role-playing and student collaboration with a hint of competition as the group with the least amount of inventory at the end – wins.

Here is a quick video we used as a debrief of a past student’s thoughts on the game:

Screenshot showing the rules for the Beer Game
Rules for the Beer Game
Screenshot showing the group set-up for the beer game (a spreadsheet)
Group set- up for the Beer Game

I am currently taking the Introduction to digital game-based learning module at The University of Edinburgh and hoping to explore how we can build playful learning in an asynchronous environment. How can we bring together a cohort to play and learn to give them a better experience in creating social presence – I hope I can answer this in the future.

5 people in a sack race including Jenn Smith
Sack racing at #PlayLearn19 – Jenn pictured in the number 9 jersey.

Thanks for sharing your story and your photos Jenn.

If you are unlucky, you might be selected as next month’s sacrifice chosen member – we will be in touch!