Exploring Play Interventions In Design Education


Industrial design, student learning, studio environment, creativity pedagogy, class room design


This study reports a collection of surveyed responses from industrial design students at Brigham Young University over six semesters regarding high levels of perceived stress in a competitive class environment, and it outlines playful interventions in coursework and classroom settings to measure if play can make any significant impact on students’ perceptions of stress and feelings of frustration. This study is inspired by existing play studies that continue to demonstrate the positive relationship between the freedom to be playful and psychological wellbeing. The methods used in this study include a consolidation of 99 anonymous free-response student surveys over the course of six semesters that are organised in terms of stress level and frustration word indicators. These comments provide a historical baseline for understanding the student perceptions of their classroom learning experience as it relates to their emotional wellbeing. We then compare those comments with comments made after a semester of playful interventions to discover how they differ. The results indicate that levels of “stress” and “frustration” were decreased with playful interventions, however students spent more hours outside of class lecture on their assignments and the overall student course rating nominally decreased. These results are discussed as well as how pedagogical changes to traditional classroom environments such as this may not only impact stress and frustration but also significantly contribute to the holistic learning experience for university students

Original Publication Citation

Hazen, G., Morgan, D., & Howell, B. (2019). Exploring Play Interventions in Design Education. Conference proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education; Towards a New Innovation Landscape, (E&PDE19), Glasgow, UK, September 11-13.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date


Permanent URL







Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology



University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor