“You can learn more about a person in an hour of play than you can from a lifetime of conversation.” - Plato
That’s the main concept Benedictine University Mesa Assistant Professor, Cyndi Laurin, Ph.D., uses in her classroom. In fact, Laurin is a LEGO Serious Play Certified Facilitator and incorporates games and experiences into the learning process every day. Including the use of LEGO!
“I had no idea what to expect from using LEGO in class,” said senior Business Management major, Mo Kinteh. “I hadn’t played with LEGO since I was a little kid, but I was definitely open to trying something new.”
Laurin has been using this technique since 2018, in response to meeting a colleague and hearing how much demand there was for this particular skill. Even though it’s still a newer concept in the United States, Laurin felt that the decision to become a facilitator was an easy one.
“I come from a long history of experiential learning techniques,” stated Laurin. “Because today’s students are so used to being lectured and not necessarily required to actively participate in their learning process, I find using LEGO helps them tap into critical thinking skills and knowledge they inherently have, but are not clear on how to articulate those understandings.”
How does it work? The methodology uses trained facilitation, along with communication and problem solving where participants are guided through a series of questions, probing deeper into the subject than what lecture or seminar would be able to access.
“Professor Laurin’s class quickly became one of my favorites,” added Kinteh. “A lot of students, like myself, love visual learning and really benefit from it. I have really enjoyed it.”
“I feel the benefits of using LEGO Serious Play are endless,” said Laurin. “Storytelling has always played a powerful role in my classroom, and LEGO makes the learning process much richer.”
Laurin serves as Program Director for Business Administration in Management of Organizational Behavior at BenU Mesa. She began her teaching career at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo when she was just 23 years old, after earning her undergraduate and master’s degree in Industrial Technology and Industrial & Technical Studies, respectively from Cal Poly.
Since then, Laurin earned a second master’s and doctorate degree from University of California, Santa Barbara in Leadership and Organizations. She is also a published author and performs public speaking engagements across the country and internationally.
“The thing that makes Professor Laurin different is her energy,” added Kinteh. “She comes to class every week with a smile on her face, and tells jokes while teaching. Honestly, she makes going to class enjoyable. I can’t thank her enough for all that she has done for students.”
“I’ve always found great reward in facilitating learning in others,” said Laurin. “Now, after 25-plus years, I enjoy it more than ever. I love working at BenU Mesa because my students are actively engaged in class discussions, they trust the concept, tools, and models that I’m sharing with them. And LEGO or not, we have a lot of fun together.”
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