Live Action Role Playing (LARP) has emerged as an innovative and engaging vehicle for museums to educate visitors about artifacts and cultures. This immersive approach involves participants actively engaging in role-playing scenarios that are often based on historical, cultural, or fantastical themes. By integrating educational LARP (also known as EduLARP) into their programs, museums can offer a more dynamic way to experience history and culture, moving well beyond traditional passive learning methods like reading a placard or watching a video.

 

Educational Benefits of LARP

 

  1. Enhanced Engagement and Learning Retention: LARP activities in museums create a participatory learning environment. Numerous studies have shown that active participation in learning activities significantly enhances memory retention and understanding. For instance, a study by National Training Laboratories found that the average retention rate for participatory teaching methods like practice by doing was 75%, compared to just 5% for lecture-based learning1.

 

  1. Fostering Empathy and Cultural Understanding: By stepping into the shoes of historical figures or cultural representatives, participants gain a deeper understanding and empathy for different perspectives and ways of life. This experiential learning approach is shown in research indicating that role-playing can effectively foster empathy and social understanding2.

 

  1. Encouraging Critical Thinking and Creativity: LARP in museums challenges participants to think critically and creatively as they navigate through scenarios. This aligns with educational theories that emphasize the importance of critical thinking and problem-solving skills in learning3.

 

How to Add LARP into Your Museum

 

  1. Design Culturally and Historically Accurate Scenarios: Right from the start of the planning stage, it’s vital for you to collaborate with historians and especially cultural advisors, who are active members in that culture, to ensure the accuracy of the LARP scenarios. This not only respects the represented cultures but also provides an authentic learning experience that doesn’t cross over into cultural appropriation. If you don’t have program designers on staff, you can bring in an experienced designer who knows how to work with cultural advisors. Another important consideration is making the LARP accessible.

 

  1. Incorporate Artifacts and Exhibits: Your LARP scenarios can be designed around specific artifacts or exhibits, allowing your guests to interact with the history or artifacts (such as replicas) and learn about them in a contextually rich setting. This method can bring life to your museum’s historical artifacts and make their stories more relatable.

 

  1. Train Staff and Volunteers: Effective implementation of LARP in museums requires recruiting and training staff or volunteers who can guide participants and ensure a safe, respectful, and educational experience. Another important aspect of the experience is to engage the participants in a Debrief so that they can connect their new knowledge with their own lived experience. Ideally, the training is accessible as an online course or hybrid program so that your additional or future staff can learn how to run the adventure outside of the original training group. This helps ensure that you are not left with a lack of people capable of running the LARP due to limited staffing.

 

Case Studies and Examples

 

Several museums have successfully integrated LARP into their educational programs. For instance, the Guangdong’s Jiangmen Museum in China has conducted LARP sessions where participants engage in scenarios based on ancient civilizations, providing a hands-on experience of history4. Similarly, the Museum of the Moving Image has hosted LARP events that immerse visitors in their exhibition “Creatures from the Land of Thra: Character Design for The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance”5.

 

More museums are stepping into the realm of high interactivity in a way that doesn’t necessitate investment in expensive technology and instead capitalizes on the human to human interaction that guests of all ages crave.

 

Key Takeaway Points

 

  • LARP in museums represents a dynamic intersection of education, history, and interactive storytelling. 
  • LARP enhances engagement and learning retention, fosters empathy and cultural understanding, and encourages critical thinking and creativity.
  • Its successful implementation, as seen in institutions like the British Museum and the National Museum of Denmark, proves its potential in transforming how museums educate and connect with their visitors. 
  • The key to its effectiveness lies in the careful design of scenarios with cultural advisors, integration with artifacts, and skilled facilitation.

 

References

  1. National Training Laboratories, “Learning Pyramid,” 
  2. The Effect of Roleplay to Increase Empathy Toward Students with Disruptive Classroom Behavior
  3. The Importance of Critical Thinking on Teaching Learning Process
  4. Guangdong’s Jiangmen Museum LARP
  5. Museum of the Moving Image LARP

 

Guardian Adventures provides LARP and game consulting and program development for museum and science centerssummer campsamusement & attraction industries, and more.



Live Action Role Playing (LARP) and tabletop Role-Playing Games (RPGs) are finally being recognized as effective educational tools because they harness the power of immersive experiences to facilitate learning. Back in 2002, our company recognized that these role-playing modalities leverage three key motivators for learning: Autonomy, Progress, and Belonging. These happen to be the same motivators that make video games so appealing to participants. We just decided to “unplug” the experience and replicate these elements within LARP and RPGs. Our success allows us to shed light on their potential to greatly enhance the educational experience.

 

Autonomy: Personalized Learning Paths

 

Autonomy in learning is about offering choices and control over the learning process. In both LARP and RPGs, players are given the freedom to choose their characters, actions, and responses to various scenarios, which aligns with the Self-Determination Theory (SDT). This theory states that autonomy is a critical factor in motivating learners. Studies have demonstrated that when learners feel a sense of autonomy, they are more likely to engage deeply and meaningfully with the material[1]. In LARP and RPGs, this translates to participants actively engaging in creating their own story from the narrative and making decisions that influence action and their character’s development, mirroring real-world decision-making.

 

We also differentiate “autonomy” from “agency” in LARP and RPGs. Agency, in this sense, is the ability to change the narrative outcome. In other words, a typical board game has specific outcomes for winning. However, in LARP and RPGs that allow a higher level of agency, the game designers and the game facilitator will actually change the overarching narrative to reflect the decisions of the players – even so far as completely re-writing what they originally had in mind if necessary. This degree of player agency is a powerful aspect of co-creation and can improve the overall experience.

 

Progress: Visualizing Skill Development

 

Progress is a vital motivator in learning because many participants and learners need to see and measure their growth. In LARP and RPGs, progress is often tangible and visible. An example of this is providing players with “Skill Tokens” when they accomplish a specific task. These tokens can then be used to purchase more character skills or even artifacts or information that can be instrumental in the navigation of the challenges their character faces.

 

Participants also develop skills in areas such as problem-solving, communication, teamwork, and even STEM education if the game is an EduLARP. The experiential learning model, which both LARP and RPGs embody, emphasizes learning through experience and reflection (or Debrief), leading to a deeper understanding and retention of knowledge[2]. Players also get to navigate through challenges and achieve specific goals in the game seeing their progress in real-time, which is both motivating and rewarding.

 

Belonging: Creating a Community in Role-Playing 

 

Of the three motivators listed, the most important is Belonging. If a player or student does not feel like they belong in the game or learning environment, then they will not feel agency and likely have a distorted sense of progress compared to the other participants. LARP and RPGs can create a unique sense of community among participants by encouraging the players to bring aspects of themselves into the game environment and have those aspects make a difference. This can create a level of authenticity in the experience that encourages them to feel like they not only belong… they matter. An example of this is creating a special skill for a player who likes to sing – and that if they sing their wizard spell, it creates a more powerful impact in the interaction.

 

This aspect of belonging aligns with Vygotsky’s Social Development Theory, which emphasizes the importance of social interaction in learning[3]. The collaborative nature of role-playing activities encourages communication, empathy, and understanding among players while building a supportive community that values differences and varied lived experiences. This sense of belonging can lead to increased motivation, engagement, and retention of information, as players feel they are authentically part of a larger, meaningful experience.

 

The Role of Game Masters in Facilitating Learning

 

In both LARP and RPGs, the role of the Game Master (GM) or facilitator is crucial in guiding the narrative and ensuring a positive learning experience. The GM make the game more inclusive by exploring the culture of some or all of the participants. They can adapt the game to suit educational objectives, adapting scenarios to reinforce specific skills or knowledge areas[4]. Examples of this include players learning spells that are based in physics or warrior characters learning about the geometry of sword fighting. This adaptability can also enhance the autonomy and agency of the learners if the game evolves to meet their individual needs and interests. An example of this is allowing the players to research and create their own spells or skills based in STEM.

 

The motivators of Autonomy, Progress, and Belonging not only make learning more engaging but also help the participants better understand how they can co-create a thriving learning environment or workplace. The integration of LARP and RPGs that use these motivators into educational frameworks can prepare learners for real-world challenges in a way that traditional methods cannot replicate.

 

 

Footnotes

  1. Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2000). “Self-Determination Theory and the Facilitation of Intrinsic Motivation, Social Development, and Well-Being.” American Psychologist.
  2. Kolb, D. A. (1984). “Experiential Learning: Experience as the Source of Learning and Development.” Prentice-Hall.
  3. Vygotsky, L. (1978). “Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes.” Harvard University Press.
  4. Bowman, S. L. (2010). “The Functions of Role-Playing Games: How Participants Create Community, Solve Problems and Explore Identity.” McFarland & Company.

 

Guardian Adventures provides LARP and game consulting and program development for museum and science centerssummer campsamusement & attraction industries, and more.



The amusement park industry thrives on providing guests with immersive experiences, thrilling rides, and memorable moments. In an age where interactive entertainment is highly valued, the inclusion of Live-Action Role-Playing (LARP) into your amusement park environment presents an opportunity to revolutionize guest engagement. LARPing involves participants physically and emotionally embodying characters in a fictional setting, and when integrated into an amusement park, it can create a unique, story-driven adventure that resonates on a personal level with each visitor.  And the beauty of a LARP is that it encompasses a very wide budget range from free to as much as you want to invest for a unique and highly theatrical environment.

 

Enhanced Immersion

 

At its core, LARPing is about stepping into another character’s shoes and experiencing a world through their eyes. Amusement parks already transport guests to fantastical realms; adding LARP elements would deepen the level of immersion. Guests could become heroes in a medieval fantasy, survivors in a post-apocalyptic landscape, or rebels in a futuristic dystopia. This kind of active participation in a park’s narrative allows for an experience that is not just seen and felt but lived.

 

Personalization of Experience

 

One of the most significant advantages of incorporating LARP into amusement parks is the personalization it offers. Every guest can have a unique story that unfolds based on their decisions and interactions within the park. This level of personalization can lead to increased guest satisfaction and repeat visitation as guests return to explore different character paths and story outcomes.

 

Encouraging Repeat Visits

 

With LARP scenarios, the story can evolve on a scheduled basis, encouraging guests to return as often as you want, to see how the plot has progressed. Unlike static rides, which may offer limited replay value, a LARP experience can be different each time, depending on the evolving narrative and the guests’ interactions with the environment and other characters.

 

Community and Social Interaction

 

LARPs naturally foster a sense of community and social interaction. Guests are encouraged to work together to overcome challenges or to compete in friendly rivalry. This social aspect can create a loyal fanbase that returns regularly and engages with the park year-round, including participation in online forums and social media groups, keeping the amusement park top of mind even during the off-season.

 

Educational Opportunities

 

LARP in an amusement park can also be educational. Historical LARPs, for example, can immerse guests in different time periods, teaching them about the culture, technology, and lifestyles of the past in an engaging and interactive way. STEM LARPs can inspire participants to learn about physics, biology, and other subjects in order to “power up” their character or solve story puzzles. This blending of education and LARP, often referred to as “EduLARP,” can appeal to schools and educational groups, expanding the park’s audience.

 

Marketing and Branding

 

The stories created through LARPing can be used in marketing campaigns, offering potential visitors a glimpse of the adventures that await. User-generated content, such as videos and photos of LARP experiences, can serve as powerful testimonials and organic advertising for the park. It also serves as a strong recruiting tool for highly creative staff who crave the idea of “playing pretend”.

 

Operational Considerations

 

Safety and Training

Implementing LARP in an amusement park will require careful planning, particularly regarding safety and staff training. Staff members would need to be trained as adventure guides, skilled in guiding the experience without breaking immersion and ensuring that all interactions remain safe and enjoyable for everyone involved. Staff with a background in improvisational acting are perfect candidates as LARP guides.

 

Technology Integration

Technology can enhance the LARP experience through apps that track story progress, offer quests, or provide AR (Augmented Reality) to reveal hidden elements in the park. This integration can create a seamless blend of physical and digital play. However, another strong point about a LARP is that it stands on its own without any tech integration. This allows your park to have “unplugged” experiences that many parents see as an important part of their children’s entertainment.

 

Design and Theming

The design and theming of the park will be crucial. Environments need to be versatile and richly detailed to support various narratives. Props, costumes, and signage will all contribute to the authenticity and depth of the LARP experience. However, a well written LARP requires very little investment in equipment and environment if the story works within the space occupied and the character roles and plot utilize the resources that are currently available. One of the best attributes of a LARP is its ability to adapt to your park’s current assets.

 

Integrating a LARP into  your amusement park represents a bold step forward in the evolution of guest engagement. This innovative approach caters to a growing demand for interactive and personalized entertainment, offering a compelling reason for guests to not only visit but become part of the amusement park’s living, breathing world. As parks continue to seek new ways to captivate audiences, LARP stands out as a promising frontier that can redefine the very concept of entertainment while encouraging engagement between their patrons and staff and not just the patrons and your physical assets.

 


 

Guardian Adventures provides consulting and program development for museum and science centers, summer campsamusement & attraction industries, and more.



Live Action Role Play (LARP) provides an engaging and interactive platform that allows participants to immerse in a narrative world and experience stories firsthand. When you integrate STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) elements it becomes an EduLARP. This lets you not only offer educational opportunities but also add depth and complexity to your story. 

Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to seamlessly incorporate STEM into your EduLARP, amplifying the narrative through scientific intrigue. If you are using our free Universal Game System Lite, we have provided you with examples for each of the themes covered in that LARP system:

1. How will STEM fit into your Story?

Determine how STEM will fit into your story’s universe. Whether it’s a post-apocalyptic world that relies on renewable energy or a medieval setting with rudimentary machines, ensure the science serves the story. 

    • Zombies: Discover the formula to reverse the zombie condition.
    • Medieval Fantasy: Alchemists use techniques to transform elements.
    • Superhero: Science holds the key to amplifying or understanding powers.
    • Space: Exploration is driven by new scientific breakthroughs.
    • Spy: Technology is pivotal for deciphering critical information.
    • Nature Protectors: Science aids in conservation and understanding ecosystems.

2. Which STEM concepts do you want to explore?

Then start identifying the STEM concepts that you want to incorporate into your LARP according to the theme. For example, if you want to focus on engineering, you can use puzzles that require players to create machines or structures. If you want to add math, use puzzles that require players to solve equations or calculate probabilities. This can encourage your players to use their problem-solving skills and also show how to apply STEM concepts in problem solving.

    • Zombies: Delve into biology and viral studies.
    • Medieval: Explore simple mechanics and alchemy.
    • Superhero: Dive into physics and genetic mutations.
    • Space: Astronomy and advanced propulsion systems are key.
    • Spy: The art of cryptography and decoding is paramount.
    • Nature Protectors: Understand ecology and conservation.

3. What kind of STEM vocabulary can you introduce?

To make your LARP more educational, introduce STEM-related vocabulary that players can use to describe the concepts that they are working with. This can include terms like “engineering,” “physics,” or “programming.” By using these terms, players can begin to understand the underlying concepts behind the challenges they are presented with.

    • Zombies: Terms like “antidote”, “contagion”, and “mutation”.
    • Medieval: “Leverage”, “fulcrum”, and “transmutation”.
    • Superhero: “Kinetics”, “mutation”, and “acceleration”.
    • Space: “Orbit”, “gravity well”, and “spectrometry”.
    • Spy: “Cipher”, “algorithm”, and “encryption”.
    • Nature Protectors: “Biodiversity”, “conservation”, and “habitat”.

4. What kinds of props will elevate the experience?

Invest in quality props that simulate real-world STEM equipment. This could range from lab equipment for experiments to simple pulley systems. Authenticity can greatly enhance immersion.

    • Zombies: Microscope slides with “infected blood.”
    • Medieval: Mock alchemical instruments.
    • Superhero: Gadget blueprints.
    • Space: Telescope or star charts.
    • Spy: Cipher wheels.
    • Nature Protectors: Sample collection kits.

5. What puzzles will drive the Narrative?

One way to integrate STEM into your LARP is to create challenges that require players to apply the STEM concepts you introduce to solve problems in a way that the solution pertains to the story. This not only adds a new level of excitement to the game, but it also makes the challenges more exciting by propelling the player through the story.

    • Zombies: Discovering the right biological compound for a cure.
    • Medieval: Crafting a pulley system to draw water during a drought.
    • Superhero: Constructing a gadget harnessing sound waves.
    • Space: Navigating the cosmos using star maps.
    • Spy: Decoding an encrypted message using mathematical sequences.
    • Nature Protectors: Identifying species through DNA analysis.

6. How to deliver the educational concepts?

Whenever players encounter a STEM element, provide a brief educational background. This can be done through NPCs (Non-Player Characters) who are experts in the field or through in-game texts.

    • Zombies: An NPC describes virus transmission.
    • Medieval: An elder explains gear mechanisms.
    • Superhero: A scientist NPC elucidates sound wave principles.
    • Space: An astronaut NPC teaches about constellations.
    • Spy: A mentor figure introduces encryption methods.
    • Nature Protectors: A biologist NPC talks about local flora and fauna.

7. How to allow for Trial and Error?

Real-world STEM often involves hypothesis testing and iteration. Design your challenges in a way that encourages players to think critically, try different solutions, and learn from their mistakes. So plan in enough time during the challenges for failure and new attempts.

    • Zombies: Test various compounds before finding the cure.
    • Medieval: Iterate on pulley design.
    • Superhero: Refine gadget functionalities.
    • Space: Correcting navigation errors.
    • Spy: Testing different decryption keys.
    • Nature Protectors: Hypothesize on the best habitats for species.

8. Where can you incorporate Collaborative Learning?

Easy: Design STEM challenges that require collaboration. For example, a complex machine might need multiple players to operate different parts in sequence. This promotes teamwork and reinforces the idea that many scientific endeavors are collaborative in nature.

    • Zombies: Collaborate to “synthesize” a cure.
    • Medieval: Working together to operate a trebuchet.
    • Superhero: Team up to calibrate a “power enhancer.”
    • Space: Group navigation through a cosmic “minefield.”
    • Spy: Assemble pieces of a deciphered message.
    • Nature Protectors: Collaboratively conduct a “species count.”

9. What’s next?  Seek Feedback and Iterate

After your LARP event, gather feedback from participants on the STEM elements as well as the story and interactions. Understand what worked, what didn’t, and what areas can be improved. Use this feedback to refine your approach in subsequent events.

    • Zombies: Which scientific aspects intensified the survival feeling?
    • Medieval: Were the mechanical tasks engaging and educational?
    • Superhero: Which gadgets seemed most plausible?
    • Space: Was the navigation challenge too easy or hard?
    • Spy: Was the code-breaking sequence intuitive?
    • Nature Protectors: Did the environmental science tasks feel impactful?

The above gives you a starting point for integrating STEM into your LARP.  But remember above all… make your adventure fun and engaging. Incorporate creative storytelling and believable characters that players can interact with, as well as exciting challenges. This is how your players are more likely to want to continue playing and learn more about STEM concepts.

 


 

Guardian Adventures provides consulting and a free LARP for afterschool programs, summer campsamusement & attraction industries, and more.



Summer camps create memories and friendships that last a lifetime, but staying engaged with campers during the school year can be a challenge. With the increasing accessibility of online platforms, Live Action Role-Playing (LARP) can be a powerful tool to keep the camp spirit alive and ensure return registrations. Here’s how to use online LARP to enhance camper retention during the school year.

What is Online LARP?

Online LARP is an adaptation of traditional Live Action Role-Playing to virtual platforms (like Zoom). Participants assume characters’ roles and interact in a digital environment, guided by a storyline or set of objectives. While lacking the physical aspect of traditional LARP, online versions offer unique advantages like:

  • Accessibility for some people with disabilities
  • Reaching your geographically dispersed campers
  • Introducing new campers to returning campers before summer begins
  • Requires very little space 
  • Largely weather-proof

Why Use Online LARP for Camp Retention?

  1. Maintain Engagement: LARP is an interactive and fun way to keep campers involved, reminding them of their positive camp experiences.
  2. Strengthen Bonds: Campers reconnect with their friends, fostering lasting relationships and engaged in Social Emotional Learning (SEL).
  3. Promote Continuous Learning: Camps with an educational component can use an online educational LARP, or EduLARP to reinforce and build upon concepts introduced during summer sessions.

Steps to Implement Online LARP for Camp Retention

  1. Set Clear Objectives: Understand your goals. Are you aiming to strengthen community ties, reinforce lessons from camp, or introduce new camp themes for the next year?
  2. Choose the Right Platform: There are several online platforms suitable for LARP, such as Zoom, Google Meet, Skype, and more. Your choice will depend on the complexity of your game and the age group of your participants.
  3. Design an Engaging Storyline: The story should resonate with camp themes or values. For instance, if your camp focuses on science, a LARP session could revolve around solving a fictional scientific mystery.
  4. Schedule Regular Sessions: Consistency is key. Regularly scheduled sessions, be it monthly or quarterly, will give campers something to look forward to and ensure sustained engagement.
  5. Incorporate Feedback: Allow campers to influence the story’s direction or provide feedback on gameplay. This empowers them and ensures the LARP remains relevant to their interests.
  6. Promote and Remind: Use email newsletters, social media, and other channels to keep campers informed about upcoming online LARP events.

Best Practices for a Successful Online LARP Session

  1. Design or Find a System: You can either make your own online LARP system for navigating your adventures, or you can take our free online course which uses the Universal Game System Lite and has documentation on how to run not only an in-person LARP, but also an Online LARP. (Yes, it’s free and no strings attached – we are trying to make LARP more accessible and wide spread)
  2. Moderate: Ensure there’s a skilled moderator or game master to guide the story, resolve conflicts, and keep the game flowing smoothly.
  3. Incorporate Multimedia: Use videos, music, images, backdrops, props, and even dress in a costume or use masks to enhance the virtual environment and make the experience more immersive. Encourage your campers to also use (appropriate) costumes and backdrops.
  4. Safety First: Especially with younger campers, ensure that all online interactions are safe. Set ground rules, use secure platforms, and monitor discussions.
  5. Stay Inclusive: Make sure every camper, regardless of their technological proficiency, can participate. We highly recommend offering tutorials or tech support ahead of sessions.
  6. Follow-Up: After a session, send out a recap, highlight memorable moments, and tease the next adventure to keep the excitement alive.

In the digital age, the end of summer doesn’t mean the end of camp camaraderie. By leveraging online LARP sessions during the school year, camps can maintain and even boost engagement, ensuring campers eagerly return year after year. It’s not just about retention; it’s about enriching the camp experience and making memories that bridge the gap between summers.


 

Guardian Adventures provide consulting and a free LARP for afterschool programs, summer campsamusement & attraction industries, and more.



EduLARP, or educational live-action role-playing, is a creative and effective approach to learning academic subjects or social emotional learning that has been gaining popularity around the globe. EduLARP involves immersing students (or summer campers) in a fictional world and having them take on different roles within a story or scenario and then complete tasks that are related to the learning topic. 

Engaging and Interactive Learning Experience

One of the most significant benefits of EduLARP is that it offers a highly engaging and interactive learning experience. Instead of just reading textbooks or listening to lectures, students get to actively participate in a fictional or simulated world where they can apply what they have learned inside the story – usually with associated consequences. By immersing students in this way, EduLARP makes learning more engaging and memorable, which can help improve retention and comprehension as well as the transfer of the knowledge into life outside of the learning environment.

Multidisciplinary Approach

EduLARP also offers something traditional schools lack: A multidisciplinary approach to learning. By creating fictional worlds, students can explore a wide range of topics and academic subjects. For example, the EduLARP plot might involve learning about different periods in history so that the students can solve the mystery, while also learning about biology, physics, and chemistry in order to defeat an antagonist. This kind of multidisciplinary approach can help students understand how these subjects are interconnected and even dependent upon each other for the end goal.

Improving Communication and Social Emotional Learning

EduLARP can help improve communication and social emotional learning (SEL) when students take on different roles, interact with one another, and learn to communicate and cooperate effectively in order to complete tasks. This process can help students express themselves, listen actively, and work collaboratively. These skills can be beneficial not just in academic settings, but also in personal and professional settings later in life.

Encouraging Creativity and Critical Thinking

Students must use their imagination to bring their roles to life in an EduLARP and solve problems within the context of the story they are navigating. This requires them to think creatively and come up with innovative solutions to challenges. The scenarios may also make room for mistakes and failure… but with opportunity to continue forward so that the student understands that failure is not the stopping point. Additionally, EduLARP often involves complex plotlines and mysteries that require critical thinking and a variety of different approaches. 

EduLARPs differ from LARPs in that the student actively learns real-world knowledge and applies it within the story.  While in LARP, participants might learn knowledge that is only applicable within the fictional world of that LARP or it may only test the knowledge they already have (such as role playing scenarios for training emergency response personnel). LARPs can contain SEL aspects, but the primary focus of a LARP is entertainment, while the primary focus of an EduLARP is education.

As EduLARP continues to grow, more schools, summer camps, and other informal educational programs will see the depth and breadth of value that this exciting and engaging vehicle for learning has to offer.

 


About:  Guardian Adventures provides free and licensed educational games, adventures, and LARP systems for summer camps, schools, and recreation organizations. 



EduLARP, or educational live-action role-playing (LARP) brings an innovative and engaging approach to learning that has been adopted by educators and summer camps worldwide and is growing in popularity. It provides an immersive, hands-on learning experience that can be applied to various academic subjects, including science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). 

STEM-focused EduLARP scenarios involve students or campers taking on fictional roles that require the application of STEM skills and knowledge. This approach engages participants in a fun and interactive way while allowing them to develop a better understanding of STEM subjects. 

Here is a list of different EduLARP scenarios that can you can use to teach STEM in your classroom or summer camp:

  1. Scientific Lab: In this scenario, participants become scientists working in a lab to conduct experiments and solve problems. The role-playing game could involve creating a specific solution, identifying a scientific challenge, and coming up with a creative solution. The game can also teach scientific methodologies, hypothesis development, data analysis, and problem-solving skills.
  2. Engineering Challenge: Students can be tasked by a fictional city to design and construct a prototype that meets specific criteria for solving a problem – either real or made up. The challenge should require them to use their critical thinking and problem-solving skills to design a solution within the given constraints and resources. Examples include waste water collection, moving a building, or even designing a public transportation system.
  3. Coding Adventure: Campers take on roles such as software engineers or hackers, and work together to solve a particular problem using programming languages. One idea is that they must protect a network or system from a cyber attack. This can also teach participants about cybersecurity and ethical hacking.
  4. Environmental Investigation: Create a news story that requires the participants to uncover an environmental problem and its source. This can teach the impact of human activities on the environment as well as biodiversity, the effects of climate change, and conservation efforts.
  5. Crime Scene Investigation (CSI): In this scenario, students or campers act as detectives and solve a crime by using scientific methods such as fingerprint analysis, DNA testing, and forensic science. Introduce the scenario by setting up a crime scene and providing participants with evidence to analyze and enough resources to solve the mystery.
  6. Space Mission: For this challenge, participants act as astronauts on a space mission and must solve various problems that arise related to physics, astronomy, and engineering. Conduct this scenario by creating a simulated spacecraft (which can be as simple as an image projected on the wall) and providing participants with challenges to overcome.
  7. Medical Emergency: Students act as medical professionals and must diagnose and treat a patient based on their symptoms. This can be based in an actual or fictional case.  Set up involves providing participants with a patient case study and equipment to use.
  8. Environmental Disaster: In this scenario, participants act as environmental scientists and engineers and must respond to a disaster such as an oil spill or natural disaster. Create a simulated disaster with either images or props and provide participants with tools to clean up and prevent further damage.
  9. Build a Bridge: For this challenge, participants act as engineers trying to get to an important destination by a specific date and must design and build a bridge using limited resources. The scene should provide materials and a set of requirements that the bridge must meet.
  10. Renewable Energy: In this scenario, participants act as energy engineers after a natural disaster and must design and build a renewable energy source such as a wind turbine or solar panel for local villages. Start by providing information about the area (by which they will determine the best approach) as well as materials and resources to build their energy source.
  11. Robot Challenge: Participants take on the role of robotic engineers and must design and program a robot to complete a specific task in space or in a hazardous environment. The scene should require a set of tasks to accomplish and provide resources to build the robot.
  12. Business Simulation: As business owners or entrepreneurs, the campers or students must manage a fictional business using math, finance, and economics. The simulation should provide a set of business parameters and challenges. Optional: Combine this with other scenarios listed here and the business the participants create has to solve the other challenge.
  13. Genetics and Evolution: In this scenario, participants act as geneticists and must solve a problem such as determining the origin of a species (perhaps Zombies?) or solving a medical mystery (a pandemic?). Set this scenario by providing participants with the background story, a set of genetic data to analyze, and a problem to solve.
  14. General Mystery: Another option is to provide a story that requires an array of challenges that require different types of problem solving without one primary focus. This can require students or participants to draw on a wider range of knowledge and skills and include topics outside of STEM like history or literature.

EduLARP offers an exciting approach to teaching STEM subjects, providing participants with the opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills in practical scenarios, which develops a better understanding of the subjects. This approach is also beneficial for improving student engagement, retention, and collaboration skills. 

Teachers or camp counselors who need assistance in designing and running EduLARPs can refer to our comprehensive LARP blog which goes into more detail about the process. Try an EduLARP at your location and watch the deep learning happen.

 


Guardian Adventures provide consulting and licensing of educational adventures, including a free LARP and cultural programs, for summer camps, amusement & attraction industries, and more.



LARP, or live action role play, can be a tool (or perhaps a better term is “vehicle”) in education that involves students role-playing various characters or scenarios in order to learn and understand new concepts. Educational LARPs are also known as EduLARPs.

Subjects for study can vary from SEL (Social-Emotional Learning) to academics like STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).  Which learning concepts the teacher wants to explore can determine the best story for the experience (what we call “Adventure” or “Module”).

LARP can be effective in teaching for a variety of reasons:

  1. LARP promotes active learning: LARP requires students to actively participate in the learning process, rather than simply listening to lectures or reading materials. This can make learning more engaging and interactive, and can help students to better retain and understand the information being presented. As well, if time for active reflection is provided after the adventure, LARP can improve transfer of this knowledge into both the academic setting as well as their personal lives.
  2. LARP encourages critical thinking: LARP can encourage students to think critically about the information being presented, as they must consider the perspectives and motivations of different characters and make decisions based on that information. This can help students to develop their critical thinking skills. It can also make room for “in-game” (during the adventure) consequences which shows why the critical thinking skills are important.
  3. LARP can be inclusive: LARP can be inclusive and culturally sensitive, as it allows students to bring their own experiences and perspectives to the role-playing scenarios. Allowing a student to bring their full, authentic self into the learning environment can improve their sense of belonging and therefore motivation. As well, by using scenarios from a variety of cultures and viewpoints, teachers can create a more diverse and inclusive learning environment.
  4. LARP can be adaptable: LARP is flexible and can be adapted to a variety of different subjects and age levels. Teachers can use LARP to teach a wide range of concepts, from language and literature to STEM and history by making the successful outcome of an adventure dependent upon this knowledge. LARP can also be useful in Informal Learning environments where participants want an immersive learning experience.
  5. LARP can teach SEL: LARP can provide a safe environment for participants to exercise positive social behaviors and relationships with their peers and adults. The safety to explore and decide which directions they want to take their character encourages students to bring those decisions to their lives. They build their own sense of moral, purpose, self-awareness and confidence which leads to decreased emotional distress, reduced risk-taking behavior, improved test scores, grades and attendance.
  6. LARP can be entertaining: LARP can be a fun and enjoyable way to learn, which can help to create a positive and welcoming classroom environment. 
  7. LARP can teach Improv:  Improvisational skills are vital in both the workplace and personal life. If the adventure is getting boring, a teacher can use improv to adjust the interactions and make the story more exciting.

LARP can be a challenge to use in educational settings if the students or teacher are confused by the “game” aspect of the adventure.  This can best be addressed by creating a simplified LARP system that can be easily and quickly understood. Other venues, like summer camps, can have time to explore a more complete LARP system that can be profoundly immersive.

And yet, LARP can be a powerful and effective tool for engaging and educating students. By using LARP in the classroom, teachers can create a more dynamic, interactive, and inclusive learning environment, and help students to better understand and remember important concepts.

 


About:  Guardian Adventures provides free and licensed educational games, adventures, and LARP systems for summer camps, schools, and recreation organizations.


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