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2018/19 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

LLLC3976 Playful Learning: using game philosophy to develop new approaches to learning and teaching

20 creditsClass Size: 15

Module manager: Kay Sidebottom

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2018/19

This module is approved as a discovery module

Module summary

This module invites you to consider why games are so engaging and, in some cases, even addictive. It explores the core elements of game design, (rules, goals, the ability to develop skills, short feedback loops and the generation of agency within the player) and asks whether these elements can be appropriated to create learning that is more like a game. It asks whether games might offer educators solutions to problems, such as low resilience and lack of engagement, within learners. You will critically examine theories of game-design and existing models of playful learning, in order to inform the creation of your own lesson-plan for playful learning.


At the end of this module students will be able to:
-Develop innovative lesson-plans that utilize game philosophy to generate highly engaging models for learning,
-Understand the creative and critical process undertaken when generating innovative learning and teaching design,
-Reflect upon their personal and professional development, considering the decisions that they have made and relating these to broader theory and understanding,
-Define and work with the criteria inherent in applying game theory to education,
-Evaluate case studies exploring the application of playful learning within education,
-Critically evaluate the value and appeal of game-like experiences within education.

Learning outcomes
On completion of this module, students should be able to:
1. Understand game philosophy and how it might be used to engage learners,
2. Critically evaluate the effectiveness of playful learning,
3. Utilise game philosophy to create original lesson-plans,
4. Demonstrate technical proficiency to the design and delivery of their playful learning lesson,
5. Reflect upon the decisions that they have made, the success of their design and those aspects that might require further revision.

Skills outcomes
The ability to apply theory to develop well thought-through, original work. A willingness to engage with games and to critically reflect upon these, learning from them in order to develop your own work in response, and to reflect upon this process.


This module explores the use of games and game philosophy to learning and teaching. It begins with definitions of the term ‘game’, and unpicks the core principles around which games are designed, in order to develop strategies for applying games to learning contexts. The module will engage with examples of games-based learning and playful learning interventions in a variety of contexts, considering the value that might be gained within education when learners are encouraged to approach their learning in a playful way. The module will consider the opportunities that games presents to redesign education for all kinds of learners: from infants to adults, and in relation to students with special educational needs. Students are encouraged to question whether there is a crisis of engagement and resilience among learners and, if so, whether the application of game philosophy might alleviate this issue. The module will explore game theory and educational theory, considering the implications of both approaches and how they might compliment one another.
Having gained an appreciation for the theory underpinning the practice, students will go on to design their own playful learning lessons.

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Independent online learning hours11.00
Private study hours167.00
Total Contact hours22.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)200.00

Private study

Independent online learning
One-hour independent online learning activity each week: 11

Private Study Hours
Reading: 47
Writing: 70 hours
Research: 50

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Students will engage with a peer review process throughout the module to receive and give feedback on the creation of their original work. The module tutor will also engage with this process and give formative feedback in relation to this, and the subsequent presentation about their playful learning lesson design. The tutor will also give formative feedback throughout the creation of the student’s reflective blog, by commenting on posts.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
Presentation10-minute individual presentation based on the student’s proposal for a playful-learning lesson, plus the lesson plan60.00
Reflective log2,000 words reflective blog summary40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 21/12/2018


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