Faculty Blended Learning Developer Marvin Soetanto.
Marvin Soetanto: “I want to leave the creative freedom to the teachers that I’m supporting and amplify what sparks their curiosity.” (Photo: Heather Montague)

Making learning more playful can engage and motivate students says Faculty Blended Learning Developer Marvin Soetanto.

“I started my job here about a month ago. When it comes to onboarding, you can’t get a better crash course than starting a new job during the beginning of the academic year with corona going on as well. I’ve had an interesting first few weeks.

I’m a learning developer with a specific focus on blended learning. In these times it seems more relevant than ever. I work in the Applied Sciences Faculty, but the goal is to have someone like me in each of the faculties. I’m the first of many and in the end, we will be a big team. It’s really cool to help shape how that will look. You get so much more insight and context related information when you’re at the Faculty. And the goal is to connect or become the bridge between the faculties and ‘Teaching and Learning Services’.

The essence of what we now mean by blended education is that it’s focused on on-campus education. So how we can make sure that what is usually an on-campus course can be correctly translated to a new format. Some things, like lectures, are more easily translated to an online environment. However, some elements of the course require more thought or different solutions such as the work groups or lab groups. And we, as blended learning developers, provide support in finding solutions for both online and offline learning activities.

‘It’s like solving puzzles for the students’

I started out in serious game design and gamification before I rolled into instructional design. The funny thing is that along the way I realised they are really similar, at least the essence of what you’re trying to do. It’s like solving puzzles for the students. It’s about the curiosity driven approach to creative problem solving in which you want to motivate and engage the learners. You can use that same description for games. And I think what I want to try to achieve is not actually putting my stamp on what they are already doing, but unlocking the inner game design spirit of the people here.

Making learning a bit more playful can simply be changing the way you frame your question or assignment or test. Those are really small things, but I think they make a difference. I want to leave the creative freedom to the teachers that I’m supporting and amplify what sparks their curiosity or what they find engaging and then translate that to something more playful or game-like. It’s already there.”

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