Imitation Game as a tool for learning


Imitation Game is a social scientific research method, which studies interactional expertise: how individuals with different viewpoints and backgrounds are able to understand each other. The method is called the Imitation Game, because it’s based on imitating between social groups. It aims for supporting learning about your own as well as the other’s social position, and it can be applied for facilitating interactions between different groups of people. Moreover, the pedagogical applications of Imitation Game support reflectivity and individual identity construction, and the increasing knowledge and understanding acts as a way to decrease confrontations. These confrontations of the current society concern various minorities, such as immigrants or sexual minorities.

We live in a global world, which requires sociocultural tools for producing new information and meanings in interactions with one another. These basic tools include languages (native language, foreign languages, symbolic languages), information processes (information, knowledge, understanding) and different technical tools, such as computers and applications of artificial intelligence. All of these have wide and long-lasting influences in human interactions and abilities.

The goal of the pedagogical applications is to increase interactional expertise, and they are suitable for supporting other widely useful skills as well: getting to know different communities deepens the cultural understanding, teaches about the variety of languages, and strengthens metacognitive abilities. Interactional expertise requires an ability to link the phenomena and meanings of the target culture in a correct way. Interactional competence – the ability to ask relevant questions and to identify the respondents – is also important for performing the role of the judge in the Imitation Game. The respondents, moreover, need the this ability to answer according to their role in the game.

Imitation Game can be applied to pedagogical purposes in all educational degrees, including non-formal learning such as open discussions in the third sector. In our project, these pedagogical applications are modeled with various participant groups and themes. We pilot the pedagogical usage of the Imitation Game with adult students via internet, basic education groups of various ages, teachers and supervisors, and multicultural groups, to give a few examples.


The goals of this sub project include

• to pilot a variety of applications, which will form a base for further development
• to assess the possibilities and learning results with various participant groups
• developing a practical tool to support the teachers
• to assess the possibility of developing the Imitation Game to a pedagogical board, card or a role playing game

The sub project is implemented by Otava Folk High School

Tiina Airaksinen, development manager, tiina.airaksinen(a)
Heikki Koponen, game pedagog, heikki.koponen(a)

(Translated from the original Finnish post)