Learning by doing: The example of a board game

Learning by doing: The example of a board game

Board games are a form of active learning that allows students to apply learning acquired elsewhere and thus to better anchor the knowledge acquired. It is learning by doing.

The aim is also to share ideas and open up questions that can be explored further. This type of tool can therefore be used within a teaching sequence in order to structure the knowledge acquired and to introduce new concepts that will be explored in greater depth later on.

Putting into practice the knowledge acquired through a board game.

Learning by doing: The example of a board game

Resources produced as a result of a project: Escapade

Group size : Group (10-15 persons), Classroom (20-30 persons)

Modality : Presential

Duration of the teaching method : In a session, An entire session

Special equipment : A board game with associated pieces. A presentation to explain the rules and recall knowledge

Type of knowledge developed : Knowledge, Know-how

Target Audience : Students, Professionals in training

Course Type : Tutorials (TD), Course

Preparation time :Creation of the game 1 week. No special preparation on the day.

Author and persons who made changes : Elsa Ballini

Why am I using this technique?

For my learners...

This approach allows teachers/trainers to verify the knowledge acquired in a flipped classroom by enabling the facilitation of a session that requires the use of this knowledge. The approach forces learners to use the knowledge and to confront it with other students. The approach also opens up questions that can then be addressed in subsequent sessions and thus allows for more curiosity on the part of the students about these issues.
At the end of the sessions, learners will have acquired a "common base of knowledge" which will ensure that the topic can be addressed with confidence. Learners can also develop a "tutor" role when they are more comfortable as they help their classmate learn around the game board.

For me, teacher or trainer...

This activity requires an investment by the teacher/trainer in the creation of the game. It is necessary to test it on several versions before arriving at a final version that corresponds to the needs. Once the game and the organisation of the session around the game are in place, it can be reused without taking much time.
This game is very useful following a flipped classroom to check that students have really understood the key concepts. Indeed, they may be able to repeat definitions or be convinced that they have understood, but the application of their knowledge confronts them with the fact that not everything has been well integrated. This allows a heterogeneous audience to start from the same basis. Then the game opens up new questions during the discussions and therefore introduces concepts that will be explored in greater depth in other sessions.

Framework and steps / Instructions

The framework

This type of method is interesting for structuring the knowledge acquired in the flipped classroom or for recalling key concepts and then starting a more in-depth session.

The preparation

Prepare the board game and the flow of the session. Provide a power point to explain the rules. Think of questions that will open a debate on other knowledge to be acquired.
There should be one stand/table per board and a maximum of 4 students per board.

The process

  1. Student viewing of an online course.
  2. Question and answer time. Students check in groups of 4 that they have understood some of the concepts from the online course that will be covered in the game.
  3. Explanation of the rules and a reminder of some key concepts useful for the game.
  4. First round with basic rules of the game to check what has been learned.
  5. Second/third round to suggest that the students change the rules and thus test the questions they have.
  6. Time for discussion and debate on these questions.
  7. Offer courses to explore these questions further or resources for them to address them.


This is not an exercise for evaluation.


The game may or may not be extended depending on whether a final debate is desired. It is possible to imagine a version available for independent play.

Points of vigilance

It is necessary to know the cognitive knots that we know some of the students are not able to overcome during a lecture or in the flipped classroom. The idea is to untie these knots in order to be sure not to lose students.

What if it doesn't work?

Some students do not take the game seriously or have not seen the course beforehand and will therefore hold back the group members. This is a matter of managing group problems. Usually other more advanced students act as tutors to help them acquire the knowledge.

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