playgrounds not libraries

May 26, 2021

play. play. play. all day long i think of play. that’s the proof that i’m still an adult. if i was a child, i’d be playing all day long not thinking or theorizing about it.

if you assume that play is all about fun and games, you’re right. if you think play is only fun and games, you’re wrong. play is also our default state of action to learn through.

transforming learning today

there’s a concerted and dedicated effort underway to transform the future of learning, from the traditional model to a new and novel model of instruction and learning.

online learning, be it self paced or cohort based is making it’s presence felt. and the absence of the traditional education model (thanks to the pandemic) has only made the shift easier.

instructors are creating courses that match subject matter with peer and community based interaction. this encourages exploration and offers a peek into each other’s unique journey of learning.

mentors offer an intermediate layer of engagement which is neither peer nor instructor. a bridge between extremes of knowledge acquisition. the cohort based course model is well received and is offering encouraging results in both retention and learning.

where’s the fun?

with the increase in interaction and engagement between peers, and mentors, fun is bound to increase. online break out rooms in between live sessions with the instructors offer a space to relate and regale each other with anecdotes along the way.

but i’m still not satisfied with this method of infusing fun into the learning experience by just increasing interaction. it still reminds me of the traditional education system where the playground is an afterthought and forms a minor aspect of the larger system.

play and fun isn’t a necessary evil that we look to incorporate into the pure and holy quest of learning. rather play is the way. learning is a happy side effect of play. unexpected by the players and therefore learning becomes effortless.

playground not library

knowledge is the treasure that all students seek. and the library is that repository of knowledge. the library is the centre, the sanctum sanctorum of our temples of learning. the professors and instructors are the high priests and priestesses.

so is the playground then just a place to find respite from the stresses of the path of learning? this framing is accepted by both traditionalists and modernists. but what if we looked at the playground as the centre?

a space for experimentation and irreverent play regardless of the value of the principles and techniques being used. a space where peers, seniors and instructors are all equal as they play together. a space where there is a no goal and no expectation of outcomes to be achieved.

this goalless playground is nature’s learning grounds since the beginning of time. before there were institutions of learning. before there were libraries of knowledge. it is in this pathless land, that wisdom reigns. yes, that elusive virtue which is barely even spoken of in the halls of learning, where knowledge is king.

play is the way

so if you’re really looking to ‘transform’ the educational experience, it’s gotta be more than just slapping a camera and taking it online. more than just facilitating peer to peer participation.

it is about shifting the focus back to play NOT learning.

i don’t want to make learning more fun. i want to return to the state of play where learning is a pleasant surprise. and paradoxically you’ll find your learning has become more efficient, effective and most importantly effortless.

if you’re willing to bet on this, build your next course around a playground, not a library!

Great! You've successfully subscribed.
Great! Next, complete checkout for full access.
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.