Session 17

Thinking outside the blocks: employing the principles of Lego Serious Play as a learning technology to facilitate team building tasks 
Alan Wheeler, Liaison Librarian, Middlesex University London

The workshop will be an exploration of how the principles of using Lego Serious Play (LSP) can be utilised as a learning technology to encourage trust and openness within the members of team projects, leading to greater cooperation in group tasks. 

Session summary:
The workshop explored how, using the LSP cycles of Challenge, Build, Share and Reflect, participants can build models, both as individuals and as groups, to address specific issues. Research has highlighted the inherent problems pertaining to student group projects (groups not bonding or feeling connected which can lead to poor team working) and LSP can be utilised to overcome barriers, whereby group members share and contribute towards a group task.

LSP fits within the broader sphere of a 3-D approach to learning technology, encouraging participants to build models both literal and metaphorical and explore problems and solutions to issues within their learning environments. One aspect of LSP which participants often report as being beneficial is the ability to ‘see’ the problem and turn it round and see it from different perspectives. This effect, a result of haptic feedback, is something which gives LSP a unique approach as a learning technology.

This session included a number of specific builds to explore the key principles of LSP within the 90 minute timeframe.

Task one: with a specific brick set build a duck
Build time: Two minutes.
Rationale: Explore issues around every duck being different, every duck being ‘a duck’, the ownership of builds.
Total time with reflections: 10 minutes

Task two: The construct first, find the metaphor afterwards build
Build time: 30 seconds
Rationale: Participants are told to pick ANY 5 bricks and put them together randomly within the short time period. Subsequently, cards are distributed to participants that contain a written concept (space travel, ageing etc…) and are then asked to explain these ideas using their model as a metaphor. These tasks introduce the concept that meaning can be attached to a model post-build.
Total time with explanations: 25 minutes

Task three: Build a model to represent your current identity
Build time: 4 minutes
Rationale: A task to introduce the first element of ‘The Johari Window’.
Total time with reflections: 20 minutes

Task four: Modify your previous model to show an element of you which others wouldn’t necessarily know
Build time: 5 minutes
Rationale: a task to promote trust between group members. Clear instructions will be offered to not build anything which is too personal
Total time with reflections: 20 minutes

Attendees learned the basic principles behind the LSP (Challenge, Build, Share and Reflect) task cycle, leading to a greater understanding of how LSP can foster communication in team-based tasks.