Edge Hill University
the_value_of_play_in_he_final.pdf (10.98 MB)

The Value of Play in Higher Education

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educational resource
posted on 2022-09-04, 17:22 authored by Alison James


The Value of Play in Higher Education 

I am delighted to be able to share with you my free book and supporting documentation on The Value of Play in Higher Education (2019-2022)

This study was an investigation into play-based and playful approaches to learning in across all disciplines in higher education. It had specific interests strands relating to the teaching of management theory and concepts and value systems attached to play. You can download the book via the link at the bottom of this page, but in case you want to know a bit more about it first, here’s a quick introduction to its purpose and content.


In The Value of Play in HE: A Study I try to marry playful design and expression with scholarly intent. I draw on the input from participants in over 20 countries, 120 of whom filled out surveys and 65 of whom engaged in semi structured interviews. They came from over 70 different academic subject areas and helped generated over 300 different examples of play. I am indebted to them all, and to everyone else who contributed in some way.

With them (and you, dear possible reader) we go through the literature and practices of play in general and in HE in particular, illustrated with great numbers of vignettes of play, some visuals and plenty of discussion. I reflect on cultural difference and play, what gets in the way of play, what helps it thrive, and where playful HE can go to next. Oh and we look at survival, mental health and wellbeing while we are at it. It represents the culmination of three years talking, exploring, reading, playing, questioning, and saying hmmmmmm a lot.

In its 350 or so pages you will also find why and how I went about conducting the study, stories of how educators are championing the cause of play in HE while also wrestling with its challenges and contradictions. I muse on different theoretical positions on play, with particular attention paid to Brian Sutton-Smith’s Seven Rhetorics of Play. As a result, there is a whopping great reading list and plenty of embedded links if you want to travel down your own personal rabbit holes of enquiry. In it I play gently with academic conventions as I, and contributors, question why we do things the way we do in academia, and what might happen if we did things differently.

DOI:  10.25416/NTR.20905276  

Visit my website:https://engagingimagination.com/


Advance HE Fellowship status

  • Principal Fellowship

Author's role

  • Academic staff

Accessibility status

  • Not accessible, or has not been checked

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