Play in learning is a humanistic and student-centered approach that has the ability to create connections, reduce stress, decrease students’ anxiety and fear of vulnerability, primes them for learning, and is a vehicle for the application of theory and skill acquisition which produces longer-lasting learning. Play can create relational safety, remove barriers to learning, and awaken intrinsic motivation. It’s curious, then, why play is so often excluded from learning in higher education. This presenter will provide thoughts that will help challenge the all-too-common societal belief that play is trivial and childish and thus, not for serious adult learning. A broader definition of play will be presented from the presenter’s current research to better demonstrate the complexity and wide applications of play’s core elements and how they can be harnessed for tertiary learning. Finally, the presenter will describe concrete examples of how instructors can infuse more play and playfulness into their classrooms. Come on, you wanna play?

Facilitated Lisa K. Forbes, Ph.D., LPC, Assistant Clinical Professor, Counseling Program

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