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.



Role playing games like Dungeons & Dragons have an undeserved reputation for being somewhat … nerdy.  It’s entirely unfair especially considering the massive benefits that role playing games provide.  We wanted to share an article from LifeHacker showcasing the many benefits to be found in the world of RPGs.

Here are a few highlights:

When I first heard about role-playing games, I immediately thought it was something that was just for the nerdiest of nerds out there. I could only imagine how ridiculous it would feel to sit around a table with other people and act like someone—or something—else, pretending to fight goblins and dragons. The entire premise just sounded way “too geeky” for me—even as someone who was way into video games and other “nerdy” things.

Fast forward a couple years, and I found that I was completely wrong. As soon as I took a moment to strip away the facade of monsters and swords, role-playing games revealed themselves to be something far more interesting than other traditional games. Behind the fantasy adventures was a fun social gathering that required you to think on your toes, solve problems, be creative, and ultimately learn how to become a team player. Sound familiar? Yeah, that’s because it’s like every job out there. It turned out that it really wasn’t about the dungeons or the dragons at all—it’s about thinking critically and working like a team.

Playing Cultivates Creativity

Creativity is the bread and butter of role-playing games. They have a certain quality that allows you to transcend typical game interactions. You have real freedom and the ability to move the story forward how you see fit. There are rules for each game, but they are merely the skeleton to whatever story you and your team want to create.

Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to activate our brains, and role-playing games do this incredibly well. When we tell stories—or experience them—our brains have to process language, the cause and effect of events, and also relate it to our own pre-existing experiences. While you’re playing a role-playing game, your brain is firing on all cylinders.

Playing Levels Up Your Social Skills

When you think Dungeons & Dragons, you probably don’t think social skills—but once again, that’s a stereotype that doesn’t necessarily hold true. Role-playing games are 100% social. You need to be able to talk to other people, express how you feel about certain situations, all in a group of people.


Skip to content