If you thought working in edutainment marketing was fun, check out this article in The Guardian about the new Lego “professor of play” job at the University of Cambridge. Workaholics need not apply.

Of particular interest to edutainment marketers is that this full-time faculty position is being funded by the Lego Foundation because it believes that play has a critical role for children, particularly in high-quality learning.

The role’s formal title is “professor of play, development and learning.” It’s the first such position ever created, and the person selected will lead the university’s Centre for Research on Play in Education, Development and Learning (Pedal), which opened in 2015.

The centre plans to undertake “rigorous” research into the importance of play, and examine how “playful learning can be used to improve students’ outcomes.”

The global head of research for the Lego Foundation, Bo Stjerne Thomsen, believes that “Play should be part of education.” He described the ideal candidate as having “a ‘childlike mindset’: an academic who is playful, extremely curious, open-minded, imaginative and creative. Someone who can think of new ways of doing research and work across different disciplines.”

Bo Stjerne Thomsen goes on to say, “We hope the Lego professor will speak to the needs that exist in education right now. And we can point to what the attitudes to play are, how teachers teach and what parents expect from education. New research studies may fulfill gaps in academia, but we help our academic partners to address the question of how it would make sense for a government or teacher to use that research.”

The results of this research will likely have some major implications for edutainment, especially when it comes to the correlation between playful learning and outcomes.

This is a fascinating article that will be of interest to all of us in the edutainment industry!


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