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The Language Playhouse

From science to practice

Admission:  B2, B3 and (Pre-)Master’s students
Number of students: 10-15 students from all faculties
Time frame:
March - June 2023
  8 meetings
Study load:  approximately 3-4 hours per week
Course coordinators: Prof. dr. Paula Fikkert, Professor First language acquisition (involved in the development of the Language Playhouse: https://www.noplica.nl/)), dr. Esther Steenbeek-Planting (responsible for de Letterprins: https://www.letterprins.nl/landing).

Study costs: None
Application deadline: February 13

The Language Playhouse is an educational tool developed to help children learn a second language in a playful manner. Although the first pilots with the language playhouse were successful, there is much room for improvement. How can children even learn more? How can the game element be improved? How could it be efficiently implemented in schools or public space?

In this lab you will first learn about the design features of the Language Playhouse (play, move, learn) which are in part based on scientific findings. You will visit the Language Playhouse and have a discussion with the developers to understand the current Language Playhouse.

Subsequently, you are going to determine the best features and the aspects that can be improved. Depending on the knowledge, skills and talents of the participants these can focus on various area, such as:

  • Child (language) learning: does our knowledge about children’s (language) development provide further insights into improving the (content) of the games?
  • Game development: are there aspects from games that could be implemented to improve engagement or learning?
  • Target group: The Language Playhouse was initially developed to help children acquire a second language, but are there other groups that could benefit?
  • Market analyses: The current Language Playhouse is located at a school yard, but children learn a lot outside of school, and therefore it is worth exploring what could be possible stakeholders. Can it be part of city design on children’s playgrounds, or implemented in shopping centers, etc.?
  • Inclusiveness: the Language Playhouse was designed to be inclusive and enhance social interaction, but does it do so and has this been exploited sufficiently?

The goal is to learn to apply your knowledge and talents to improve and develop tools that help children develop.

Preliminary programme

The method we use is Scrum/Sprint over 8 session (of approximately three hours).

Meeting 1 – Introducing the topic (what is the language playhouse), getting to know each other and develop insights into team members’ backgrounds and talents. Explaining the method (scrum/sprint) and defining the goal.

Meeting 2 – Visit to the Language Playhouse (Bloemberg, Nijmegen)

Meeting 3 – Meet the developers and discuss areas for improvement

Meeting 4 – Defining problems; decide which problems to tackle; (Depending on the background, talents and interests of the students

Meeting 5: Brainstorming about solutions to the problems; demos by students

Meeting 6: Discussing the solutions and deciding on the best ones, developing a story board

Meeting 7: Developing the ideas to be presented to ‘customers’ and subsequently tests those ideas

Meeting 8: Presentations

  • Outcome of meeting with ‘custormers’
  • What have we learned
  • Business plan (advice)

More information follows soon.


You can apply for this honours lab via this form. The application deadline is February 13, 2023. Please include your CV and a motivation letter (of maximum 1 page) for the honours lab in your application.

If you have any questions, you can contact Floor Binkhorst (floor.binkhorst@ru.nl) or visit the information session 9 February from 12.30-13.15.