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Playful teaching or "learning by doing"- An example of two practical university projects at Fontys University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands

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This paper aims to share two best practice learning arrangements currently taught at International Business and Management Studies here at Fontys Venlo, in the Netherlands. These courses may be considered to exemplify best practices in the domains of interactive learning and playful teaching, elements which are at the very heart of Dutch higher professional education. These two (first and second year) learning arrangements are called Project Business Plan and Project Mini Company. These courses are interrelated, being stepping stones along the same learning line. Learning outcomes are achieved primarily by means of interactive learning activities and playful, student-centered, task-driven teaching. Concerning Project Business Plan, you will read in this paper about how students form their own project groups, how they develop their own product ideas using interactive brainstorming techniques, and how they pitch their own products so as to convince other project groups of the value and feasibility of their product ideas. Concerning Project Mini Company, you will read about how students actually design, develop, produce, market, and sell their own products almost completely on their own. As a closing statement, extended teaching experience has shown to us that students simply adore highly interactive, high stimulation, business simulations in which students are allowed free reign to do their own thing within a semi-secured “play” environment. Herein, simulation and play-elements are ubiquitous throughout. In this paper, we hope to truly inspire and encourage you to take the perhaps daunting but highly rewarding leap towards incorporating similar project-based, student-centered simulation activities within your own teaching environments.


Paula Josić    
Fontys University of Applied Sciences

Paula is a Croatian student at a Fontys University of Applied Sciences in Netherlands. The study program she is currently studying is Business related. That goes well with nourishing her entrepreneurial spirit and a need for constant improvement.
Graduating from Gaudeamus, in Osijek, she is currently in the second semester of International Business and Management studies in Venlo. Working on projects within the study course puts her creative and innovative ideas to a good use. The subject she appreciates the most is International Business and Operations. Being fascinated by the way businesses function leads to conclusion that working in that field would make her pleased.
Paula is not only a student; she also works as an assistant for the university. Being responsible for establishing contact with new international students and helping them start their study easier, shows her ambition to help others. She herself comes from a small town in Croatia, Vukovar and is aware of the cultural differences affecting Fontys.

Maike Hajjoubi    
Fontys University of Applied Sciences

Maike Hajjoubi is assistant study programme manager of the study programme International Business and Management Studies at Fontys Venlo. In this position, she is responsible for circa 700 students and is first contact person for a team of 38 lecturers. Maike has worked for Fontys International Business School in Venlo (the Netherlands) since 2009. Her subject expertise lies in the area of management & leadership. She devotes particular attention to the differences between women and men in leadership positions.
Maike teaches undergraduate students at various levels in management & leadership skills as well as project management. Furthermore, she supervises students during their workplacements and graduation assignments. During supervision, she advises students in conducting research in environments varying from small and medium sized enterprises to large multinationals, such as Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom. L’Óreal, Henkel, DB Schenker, Mekkafood, Santander Consumer Bank, Scheidt & Bachmann, SMS Meer.
Prior to her academic career, Maike worked in the chemical industry as an international management assistant and contact person for 9 international subsidiaries.
Maike graduated from Maastricht University with first-class honours. She holds a Master of Science degree in International Business, having specialized in Organisation: Management, Change and Consultancy. In 2008, Maike won the national SER dissertation competition in the category higher professional level (HBO) with her Bachlor thesis. Her Master’s thesis was likewise awarded Maastricht University's Top Thesis Distinction.
Maike lives in Mönchengladbach, Germany together with her husband and her two small children. You can contact Maike by means of Xing, Linkedin, Facebook, or email

Paul Scholey    
Fontys University of Applied Sciences

My name is Paul Scholey. I train Business English skills within our study programme International Business and Management Studies here in Venlo, the Netherlands. As for what I value, I personally must confess to being thoroughly enamoured with learning, with teaching, and with seeing my students grow. In brief, I firmly believe in education.

Having immigrated from Canada as a callow youth of sixteen years of age, I have gradually put down roots here in the Netherlands. I currently live in Eindhoven with my dear wife Sandra and our two little children. I have Master’s degrees in History, in English, and in Education. I teach report writing, negotiating, and presentation skills. I have spent 4 years training fellow teachers. Having an avid interest in testing, I have been entrusted with the task of pre-screening written exams here at IBMS. In short, this is me. Should you wish to contact me, please mail me at


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