Nostalgia, gamification and staff development – moving staff training away from didactic delivery

  • Tom Foster The University of Sheffield
  • Simon Warwick
Keywords: assessment design, accessibility, playful learning, alternative assessment game-based learning,


There is growing evidence that incorporating games into education supports active learning and student participation. With that in mind, we created a staff development session that involved a playful learning activity, in which attendees experienced 90’s nostalgia, whilst working on an important learning and teaching issue.

Based on the British game show, The Crystal Maze, The ‘Crys-TEL’ maze required attendees to complete a number of challenges as a group to attempt to ‘solve’ a pressing learning and teaching issue. Using gamification techniques, defined as game design elements in non-game settings, attendees experienced different delivery styles, whilst always working towards the learning and teaching issue they had been asked to consider. In a nod to the original Crystal Maze game show, attendees worked in groups to score points for completing various tasks. The two groups with the most points competed against each other in the final to collect crystals, and ultimately conquer the ‘maze’.

This article will describe the journey we took from the initial concept through to the delivery of the session, and our reflections and proposed future developments of the Crys-TEL Maze.

Published: 8 May 2018

This paper is part of the Special Collection: Playful Learning Conference, edited by Fiona Smart and Mark Langan. More papers from this collection can be found here 

Citation: Research in Learning Technology 2018, 26: 2021 -


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How to Cite
Foster T., & Warwick S. (2018). Nostalgia, gamification and staff development – moving staff training away from didactic delivery. Research in Learning Technology, 26.
Playful Learning Conference - Themed Collection