Lectures and legoland: recapturing the excitement of lectures

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In May 2017, I visited Billund in Denmark in order to attend the Danish Network for Educational Development in Higher Education (DUN) Confer-ence at the Vingsted Conference Centre. Billund is famous all over the world as the home of the original Legoland®. As a child I had never visited and so despite being a bit older than the usual Lego enthusiast I took the opportunity to go. I arrived at the front gates fifteen minutes before the park opened at 10:00, and there were already masses of children accom-panied by parents and teachers running around and playing outside the entrance. The entrance consists of a set of turnstiles and an outer metal ‘curtain’ barrier which has holes in it so you can glimpse the park beyond. At 09:55 a princess in a pink gown and several official looking staff ap-peared on the other side of the turnstiles: there was a palpable sense of excitement amongst the children. They were jumping up and down, they were talking, they couldn’t keep still and most of them moved closer to the entrance. As the metal barrier started to rise at 10:00, children were duck-ing underneath to try to get into the park faster.
I reflected on what should be a similar scene at 08:55 on a Monday morn-ing outside most lecture theatres in universities around the world. I think it is fair to say that it is perhaps less common to see students demonstrating palpable excitement to enter the room. So are we doing something wrong? Why are students less excited by the learning experiences on offer in our higher education institutions? It made me consider why the children were so excited at Legoland®. First I think children expect Legoland® to be fun. They enjoy playing with Lego at home, and the idea of a whole park that is dedicated to the themes of their favourite Lego is exciting. Second, Lego is a creative toy. Bricks can be built into the model suggested on the front of the box, it can be built, rebuilt and built again so they can continue to enjoy their toy. But perhaps one of the key success features of Lego is that it can be built into whatever you want it to be built into, so you get to use your creativity. The park has the excitement of promising many possibilities and ideas of how you could use your Lego. Third, Legoland® offers a sense of the unexpected. You may have seen brochures or adverts for Legoland®, but you are unlikely to have seen all that is on offer. Most people find un-expected fun and creative experiences to be positive and enjoyable. The park is designed so that you never know what is around the corner; will it be live penguins, a water ride or the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars? Fourth, most children realizse before they get to Legoland® that they will have an opportunity to participate and interact; they get to do stuff. There are areas where you can play with Lego, you can go on exciting rollercoast-ers, you can have your photo taken with your favourite Lego character. It’s all the more interesting because you don’t just look at the displays, you take part and interact with them in different ways. Finally, it is worth re-membering that Legoland® is designed with a specific audience in mind. Legoland® is tailor-made to appeal to children of specific ages, with differ-ent Lego ranges and themes targeted at particular groups.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-4
Number of pages4
JournalDansk Universitetspædagogisk Tidsskrift
Issue number24
Early online date1 Mar 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Mar 2018


  • Students as partners
  • lecture
  • student engagement
  • Higher Education
  • Learning & Teaching


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