According to research, new experiences that start from creating interactions such as role playing, stimulus, or group discussions are a result of participant actively learning (Terehoff, 2002). The focal point of this study is exploring a method of experiential learning while adults students learn new language. Basic understanding of early language acquisition and second language acquisition is used to better understand how and why play can be a much-needed component in the classroom. The experiential method of learning through play has been used to gain perspective about adult learning preferences in the interpreting field. The participants were American Sign Language interpreter volunteers.

Learning through play may present itself or can be used in the forms of therapy, improvisation, or board games. It creates an environment that allows interpreters to experience experiential learning and incidental learning. This method of learning allows students to become comfortable with the use of the language and make new experiences. Research shows that learning happens when there is an opportunity for previous experiences to affect the learners’ approach to new experiences (Yardley et al., 2012).

In this study, interpreting participants engaged in learning through play during an intervention. The volunteers played a game. After the intervention, the results were determined based upon the volunteers’ feedback about their playful experience with learning. The participants results were expressed in qualitative surveys to better understand the participants’ perspectives of learning through play.

Exit Requirement


Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Interpreting Studies

Committee Chair

Amanda Smith

Committee Member

Erin Trine

Committee Member

Colleen Jones


Play, experiential learning, interpreting, sign language



Type (DCMI Terms)


Subject Categories

American Sign Language | First and Second Language Acquisition | Language Interpretation and Translation

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