STUDYING THE EFFECTS OF A 'LEGO SERIOUS PLAY' INTERVENTION WITHIN STUDENT GROUP DESIGN
Editor: Erik Bohemia, Ahmed Kovacevic, Lyndon Buck, Peter Childs, Stephen Green, Ashley Hall, Aran Dasan
Author: Stevenson, Benjamin; Dekoninck, Elies; Barrie, Jeffrey
Institution: 1: University of Bath, United Kingdom; 2: Imperial College London
Section: Design and Engineering Education Practices
This study aimed to investigate the effects of employing Lego Serious Play (LSP) as an intervention in student engineering design sessions. LSP intends to enhance group participation and cultivate a common understanding through the embodiment and explanation of ideas in Lego models. Therefore, an hour-long session was designed for testing with student groups; half an hour spent tackling a design question using the LSP method (Lego part) and the other half on a similar question using equivalent traditional design methods (in a Non-Lego part). Six groups were tested in total, with three of those groups analysed in detail to compare the effects of LSP on group productivity and engagement. This was achieved through full transcription and coding using Interaction Dynamics Notation  as well as additional codes, from which the design outputs and codes were counted. The observed effects of LSP were that it increased descriptive productivity, as suggested by the literature, at the expense of creative productivity. It was also seen that LSP increased humour in the distracted periods of the sessions. While these were preliminary results and further verification is needed, it was suggested that these effects could be due to the success of Lego for communicating concepts but also acting as a barrier to developing alternatives to such concepts. Hence, instead of producing as many ideas as in the Non Lego parts, in the Lego parts, participants instead tended to spend their efforts describing the existing concepts in creative and often humorous ways.