Creativity and playful learning

Hodge et al. (2009), in conceptualising the ‘student as scholar’ model of learning in higher education, argue that curriculum design across programmes should progress: 

“…from an instructional paradigm that emphasises telling students what they need to know, to a learning paradigm that emphasises inquiry in shaping how students learn what they need to know within the traditional academic context, and culminating in a discovery paradigm that encourages students to seek and discover new knowledge, emphasising inquiry with no boundaries.”  

For students to move across these paradigms they must be open to experiment and challenge – they are required to take risks, overcome fear of failure and subdue extrinsic goal-oriented behaviours. Creative pedagogies can play a role in supporting students to engage in a more independent and critical approach to knowledge creation. 

Defining creativity and creaive pedagogies

Our starting point is a notion of creativity as the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods, interpretations. Additionally, we assume that whilst creativity involves cognitive processes, as human beings those processes are experienced as embodied selves and through all our senses (James and Brookfield, 2014). 

In relation to curriculum design and enhancement it is important to consider how different teaching and learning activities might stimulate creativity, both that of our students and our own. Current developments at LSE focus on: 

  • Arts-based pedagogies including use of image, both still and moving; poetry and creative writing; and, theatre and improvisations 
  • Simulations and games
  • Object-based learning


The role of playful learning

Creative pedagogies community of practice 

The purpose of the creative pedagogies community of practice is to bring together colleagues interested in developing their practice in relation to creative pedagogies and/or playful learning. 

To support the development of new projects in these areas and to facilitate practice-sharing across the School, we have created a Teams site. Through this site we can share resources, ideas, and funding opportunities. We can also promote relevant workshops/seminars/conferences being held within the School and across the sector.  

If you would like to join this community of practice, you can do so by requesting access to the Teams site or by emailing either Jenni Carr ( or Alex Spiers ( 


Hodge, D, Haynes, C, LePore, P, Pasquesi, K, and Hirsh, M (2008) From inquiry to discovery: developing the student as scholar in a networked world, Keynote address, Learning Through Enquiry Alliance Inquiry in a Networked World Conference, June 25-27, University of Sheffield, Available online: Accessed 16.08.17 

James, A and Brookfield, S.D (2014) Engaging Imagination: Helping Students Become Creative and Reflective Thinkers, San Francisco, CA, Jossey-Boss.