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This anthology advances a radical agenda for those in higher education, arguing that teaching activities should focus not primarily on knowledge acquisition but behaviour, because institutions of higher education now ‘have become the training centres of the professional practitioner’. Today’s students, the knowledge workers, professionals and leaders of tomorrow, face a double challenge. They will have to survive organisations and they will have to help organisations survive. They will be called upon to help organisations find and realise innovative strategies for a sustainable future. Consequently, higher education curricula must focus on key components of professional behaviour and experiential learning must be central to this strategy.
In their Foreword, Professors Jac Geurts and Richard D. Duke graphically describe the challenge they see. The modern workplace is a place of continuous innovation and for organisations there is a clear connection between their capacity to play and their success in innovation. Yet:
‘Those in higher education do not play enough…play is conquering the workplaces of the knowledge-intensive, creative and professionalised organisations of our time. …. and we, in education, are still teaching with formats that are not only boring and inefficient but also invalid and invalidating.’
‘Play’ is a profound engine of change, central to learning and development rather than something to be kept apart from it. Consequently those in higher education need to embrace it as a concept integral to effective learning engagement.
The three types of ‘play’ discussed here – games, simulations and role play – are essential components for developing the resourceful and innovative professionals needed in today’s organisations and workplaces. The seventeen chapters in this anthology:
The contents include a balance of theory and practice, addressing how simulations and games work in specific contexts and contribute to creating learning and knowledge. They explore how individuals can move from teaching-oriented to learning-oriented approaches and examine theories informing the design of simulations and games and the facilitation of learning processes.
About the Editors
Claus Nygaard is Professor in Management Education at Copenhagen Business School, Denmark. Nigel Courtney is Honorary Senior Visiting Fellow at Cass Business School, City University London, UK. Elyssebeth Leigh is a simulation professional, spending more than 30 years applying simulation strategies and techniques to enhance learning in business and academic settings in Australia and numerous other countries.