Challenge-Based Pedagogy for a University Playground

The Concordia University Innovation Lab


Since the COVID-19 pandemic, we have lost access to all the makerspaces and participatory media spaces in the university. This created a major void because all these spaces had a porous membrane, which allowed partner, mentors and community members from the outside to interact with students from a variety of disciplines.

To create a space that would give opportunities to partners to work with student around ill-defined challenges, I worked with the Vice-Provost of Partnerships and Experiential Learning to create a new lab in the format of a playground. The Concordia University Innovation Lab uses a playful approach to challenges where we position partners and mentors as superheroes who plant seeds around which students can work in interdisciplinary groups.

How seeds sprout and how the proposed solutions to challenges emerge is the product of the interaction between peers, partners, passion and play, as students develop innovation skills including strategic thinking, critical thinking, creativity, communication, collaboration, networking, leadership and prototyping.

The first iteration of the Innovation Lab activities took place virtually, on Zoom, Discord and Notion during the Winter 2021. Once the activities resume on campus, our lab will be a porous hybrid space where partners, mentors and students can work together like in a playground approach.

Project Links


Ann-Louise Davidson Ph.D.

Director Innovation Lab, Research Chair in Maker Culture, Associate Professor
Concordia University, Canada
Twitter: @a_l_davidson



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