Complex cooperation games

Name educator:  Unnur Gísladóttir & Jakob F. Þorsteinsson

Name partner organisation: University of Iceland


Description of the course: Games and activities in schools and leisure.

The course focuses on the value of good games and activities in leisure and schools. Among others learning outcomes this is what we will focus on:

·         Connection to nature

·         Different roles and different perspectives, student & facilitators

·         Connections, personal and professional (also connecting to roles)

·         How to create an atmosphere for learning in a reflective way

·         Questioning roles, space, time, feeling

·         Logical thinking vs. Reflection

·         Games – “being active

·         Focus, what are the focus points when using reflection and games

·         Feedback, from facilitator (teacher) into the group and vice versa

·         Humor – creativity

·         Ownership, owning the knowledge and connecting to the content

At the end of the course students should: Be able to explain the importance and value of good activities/games and their importance in pedagogical work. And further more how reflection and experiential learning can make the process of learning through games meaningful.


Date(s) of the testing project: 3rd of October, 2015

Target group: Students in school of education (BA in leisure studies and BA in teacher education)

Number of participants: 35

Nationality of the participants: Icelandic

Sex of the participants: females­­­­­­­­­­: man:­­­

Age of the participants: 21 to 47

Amount of meetings with the learners: One day hours from 9:30-13:30

A Number of people reflecting: Solo (1 person)



Small group

(< 20 people)


Large group

(> 20 people)


B The way(s) of sharing:
Verbal: X Discussion, both formal and informal.
Non-verbal: Pictures / drawings Text






Other forms of expression
Digital: Padlet


Social media: X  youtube Digital diary: X

Video recording by facilitators as well as students.


C Place of reflection (where) Indoors






D. Steps taken to implement

How did you organize your testing project (or to put it differently: as this is a testing project for experimenting, what will be different comparing to the same course you run the previous time)?

Our aim was to open the eyes of the students that “more” can be found in games & activities. The focus was on how you build a one day program that includes complex cooperation games and reflection. We want to “walk the talk” and also increase students awareness to questions and context.

This is the first time we thought this course and we are working with academics from the teaching department. The heading of the day is “outdoor games” and it indicates that the focus has been on the outdoor but we intent to move it towards reflection but be at the same time aware of the importance of the outdoor as a context.

E. Your assessment of the outcome

In general, how do you look at the results of your testing project?

The assessment of the outcome was focused on two main areas.

Throughout the day main focus was on these questions and themes:

·         What did you see?

·         Did nature affect you during the process?

·         Did the distribution of the group or the way you were det into groups affect you?

·         Did you reflect during the exercise? How?

·         Is it realistic to reflect in this situation?

·         How did you “upplifa” the day?

·         What your input into the project?

·         Is there something that is left unsaid?

·         What did you feel? Does feeling matter?

These questions were used to identify the individuals, to give them a clear focus in there reflection process. It was also to give us guidelines to work deeper on experience and connect the process outside of the learning situation. We addressed these themes in the end of the day and asked how did they identify with it and did they spot these themes in our program.

Dæmi um umræðuna – náðist á myndbandi?

In connection with this we also gave them a project when finishing a complex game called “defusing the bomb” that connected with reflection and specifically the project REFLECT. In that we had the student discuss in what order “good”, “practical” and “logical” reflection is done. These questions were designed with the letters from Bert in mind. The questions where:

The way in which they set up these question was the foundation for discussing reflection as a method of learning, and in which way to address reflection, what where there needs, what did they think was of importance?

·         How did you feel? What emotions did you feel? How did they affect you?

·         What was the project about? What was it content? What was the reason and goal?

·         Did the project do anything for the group or affect it? How? Why?

·         Did you manage to finish the project and assignments, what affected the outcome?

·         How was the communication in the group? What characterized them?

·         How do you draw learning and experience from this project? How do you place the learning and experience onto to other circumstances?

·         On a personal level what did the project do for you?

·         Was there something or someone who interfered with you learning or experience?

The outcome of this discussion and dialogue was diverse but there were a few themes. First of all students identified with feeling and discussion of feelings as being an important part of starting a reflective conversation.

Hvað meira?

At the end of the whole course the students evaluated the process as a hole, looking back on these three questions.


F  Connecting with principles: which principle(s) were you taking into consideration mostly when facilitating reflection with learners? Please add 2 sentences about how you were translating the principle into practice. For more information: see postings on principles.


Raising awareness within learners to ‘own’ their learning in personally meaningful way

This was a main theme, how to connect an action such as a game or activity with reflection so that it can be used in a personal and meaningful way for the student/learner.

How did we do this?

We gave more space to reflection and discussion then the actual activity. Following a complex group developing game there was space for extensive reflection, in different settings and with different methods.



Developing a relationship between educator and learners based on trust, openness, empathy, honesty, dialogue and feedback

Seeing we were only with the students for one day it was important that we based the day on trust, openness, empathy, honesty, dialogue and feedback.

How did we do this?

We opened the day by telling them something about ourselves and giving voice to the student and space to tell us about themselves.

We did extensive exercises where we worked directly with trust, but in activity and discussion such as walking blindly or sharing their opinion.

Dialogue was an important part since the focus was on, how do we address and discuss reflection?



Co-creating the reflective process

This has been explained, through the different methods we used to connect them to the reflective process as well as giving them ownership in the process.


Managing the steering paradox of intrinsic learning processes




Creating the right reflective attention of learners

This was done by identifying reflection as a way to process and facilitate learning while using the method of group building and complex cooperative games. Developing a common ground, language and feeling on how reflection is used and “walked”, while using these methods. And putting the main focus on reflection.


Slowing down and value moments of not-knowing,


Deepening your questions progressively

Working directly with questions and action, gave way to deepening the questioning progressively and giving ownership to the students and furthermore gave us feedback, new ideas and new knowledge in how questions can develop and progress.



Recalling that reflection can never be imposed, only kindly invited.

Giving tools for reflection, teaching how to touch on the subject of reflection and where to connecting with connection to the curriculum of the course.



Always considering reflection as a broad and deepening process, that should be holistic.


Being careful how to asses reflection (or not at all)