Playful learning: Linking play properties to learning designs - a higher education scoping review


Playful learning in higher education is an emerging field of research, but it lacks a coherent definition or framework of implementation approaches. This article presents a scoping review of playful learning in higher education by investigating how the ‘path’ from playful learning theories and knowledge towards designing playful learning solutions is described. We examine how other studies have worked on creating playful learning solutions in terms of what theoretical frameworks authors mention and how play properties are linked to learning solutions. In the scoping review, international databases were applied, and 24 articles were selected for thorough analysis. It describes three strategies on how authors apply playful approaches in learning contexts in higher education: adopting a playful activity to implement playful learning in higher education; adding a playful twist to existing learning formats; and designing solutions based on a playful learning framework or play properties. This paper concludes by providing questions about how to address play properties in learning designs. The questions can be used to provide direction for making design decisions about playful learning contexts and solutions. 


higher education, review, playful learning, learning design, play properties

How to Cite

Hijkoop, V., Skovbjerg, H. & Bekker, T., (2024) “Playful learning: Linking play properties to learning designs - a higher education scoping review”, The Journal of Play in Adulthood 6(1), 1-17. doi:







Vera Hijkoop (Design School Kolding)
Helle Marie Skovbjerg orcid logo (Design School Kolding)
Tilde Bekker orcid logo



Publication details



Creative Commons Attribution 4.0


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This article has been peer reviewed.

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