Learning through games: Facilitating meaning-making in online exchanges

Over 60 years of scholarship have been dedicated to describing meaning-making processes through which organisational learning occurs. Recently, researchers have considered the creation of shared meaning-making through prolonged and co-located interactions situated in the context of a community. The spread of hybrid working has had an adverse impact on several of these meaning-making processes, disrupting knowledge-sharing ecosystems and organisational learning overall. In this article, we explore ways of facilitating knowledge-sharing against such disruption. To maximise the efficiency of verbal communication, we introduce Basil Bernstein’s socio-linguistic approach of learning as the emergence and consolidation of verbal codes. We trial the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® method as a means of facilitating the emergence and consolidation of such verbal codes in five online workshops with manufacturing businesses. We find that the emergence of verbal codes can be facilitated through the use of the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® method. We also find that code consolidation is a much more spontaneous process, and we observe this in the final reflection stage of the workshops. Our study offers insights into the process of meaning-making in online exchanges and has implications for organisations seeking to manage hybrid or fully remote workforces, as well as the wider field of organisational learning.

Keywords: Learning theory, LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® method, online meaning-making, organisational learning, sociolinguistics

Authors: Ruth CherringtonConstantine ManolchevAllen Alexander and Jessica Fishburn.

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