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.
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.