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S-PLAY

Moving from Piaget’s theory of constructivism, Seymour Papert, who was a colleague of Piaget, extended his theory to the fields of learning theory and education, stating that “learning happens especially well when people are engaged in constructing a product, something external to themselves” (LEGO SERIOUS PLAY, 2002, p. 9). According to Papert, constructing things and constructing knowledge go on simultaneously, reinforcing each other: “when people construct things out in the world, they simultaneously construct theories and knowledge in their minds” (Rasmussen Consulting, 2012, p. 5).

Constructionism is not only about children’s learning, it is more widely about making formal and abstract ideas more concrete and tangible, therefore easier to understand. Concrete thinking, i.e., thinking with and through objects, is a mode of thinking that is complementary to abstract and formal thought. At the core of both constructionism and LSP is the idea that “when we ‘think with objects’ or ‘think through our fingers’ we unleash creative energies, modes of thought, and ways of seeing that most adults have forgotten they even possessed” (LEGO SERIOUS PLAY, 2002, p. 12).

The level of engagement that students often reach when they are in a ‘hands on’ process is what Csikszentmihalyi calls ‘flow’, i.e., “a state of concentration or complete absorption with the activity at hand and the situation. (…) The flow state is an optimal state of intrinsic motivation, where the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing” (Kristiansen, Hansen & Nielsen, 2009). In addition, this concept of flow is central in LSP workshops.