Investigating Learner Beliefs Using the Lego Serious Play Method
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The study of L2 learner beliefs explores the attitudes, knowledge, and assumptions students adopt when they learn a language (Kalaja & Barcelos, 2006). Previous research had focused on learner differences in areas like motivation, aptitude, and strategy use, but often did not consider that individual learner beliefs vary widely and cannot be captured in predefined categories. Discovering what students believe about the learning process, and how this may impact their learning, requires qualitative research designs that focus on individual learners and their beliefs; researchers often employ questionnaires or interviews. In my study, I introduce a new method of inquiry; a problem-solving method called “Lego Serious Play” (LSP). I first introduce LSP, which was originally created for use in business management, and discuss how it can be applied to language education. I have designed a task that requires learners to represent their learning and understanding of German. Specifically, participants are invited to construct Lego models of aspects of their general beliefs about learning German, and to explain their respective models to their peers. These models reveal many individual differences, and the participants’ verbal explanations offer unique insights into their beliefs, and help decode the metaphorical constructions of their learning experiences. I argue that this research design is effective for understanding where students may be facing challenges in their understanding and learning of a foreign language. This project demonstrates how studying learner beliefs is advantageous for improving how we teach language.
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Erica Leigh Swyers (2017). Investigating Learner Beliefs Using the Lego Serious Play Method. UWSpace. http://hdl.handle.net/10012/12302