Learning by Playing – Larp As a Teaching Method

Learning by Playing – Larp As a Teaching Method

Tell me, and I will forget.
Show me and I may remember.
Involve me, and I will understand.Confucius
The next generation of teachers will be expected to possess a broad spectrum of competencies and skills. They are faced with a seemingly impossible task: today, classroom instruction should teach not only content but also competence. It should be as interdisciplinary as possible and it should take the heterogeneity of students into account. In addition to hard skills, classroom instruction should also teach soft skills. It should encourage and include the use of the learning material in a variety of situations that students will face in the real world. At the same time it should also be problem-oriented, varied and interesting, and sustainable. And of course, it should motivate students to learn!

While it seems as though new teachers are being asked to square the circle, the Danish boarding school Østerskov Efterskole and others like it have demonstrated that this challenge can be met and mastered[1]Cf. Hyltoft, Malik, 2008..

How? With Edularp.

But just what is Edularp?

Edularp

Edularp[2]The term Edularp stands for “educational live action role-playing game”. is live-action roleplaying used to impart pre-determined pedagogical or didactic content.

Why is Edularp ffective? Why do children, high school students, college students, and seminar participants learn better, faster, more sustainably and more easily with Edularp?

Edularp as Game

The chief art is to make everything that children have to do, sport and play too.John Locke

Firstly, Edularp is always a game. And games are usually fun[3]Henriksen (2008) argues for the contrary opinion, according to which learning games neither must nor should be fun.. Those who have fun learn more easily[4]Cf. Corbeil, 1999, pp. 173., are more motivated[5]Cf. Hyltoft, M., 2010, pp. 48., and are more likely to tackle larger challenges without reticence[6]Suits (2005) has even made the overcoming of unnecessary obstacles the core of his definition of games:“Playing a game is the voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles.”. Additionally, players participating in an Edularp — like players of games in general — often forget that they are actually doing something sensible. For them, fun — often fun as part of a group — is in the foreground[7]Baer, U., 1982..

Secondly, in games in general and in Edularps in particular, a kind of secondary reality[8]Authors from different fields have described this alternative reality in a number of different ways, but often mean the same thing or at least a similar thing: the “situation of the second degree” in Brougère, G., 1999, the “frame” in Goffman, E., 1977, pp. 52, the “surplus reality” in Moreno, 1965 or the “magic circle of gameplay” in Huizinga, 1938/1939. takes hold. It is a special reality that not only lifts the players out of their complex and often trivial or boring everyday existences for a brief time, but that also delivers them into a new world that is often exciting, epic and comprehensible in ways that the real word is not. While “normal” classroom instruction is often dry, Edularp is usually the highlight of the day. This provides enormous motivation to players[9]Cf. McGonigal, J., 2012, pp. 119ff.. It is simply far more exciting to investigate a murder mystery than to listen to a lecture about chemistry, English or mathematics.

Furthermore, when we play, we are only acting “as if” something were the case. We, and the other players, are only pretending. This results in a kind of sanction-free experimental zone, a safe framework in which we can try out new ways of thinking or beha ving, reasoning or feeling — without fear of negative consequences[10]Cf. van Ameln, F. and Kramer, Josef, 2007, pp. 397; Hyltoft, M., 2010, pp. 45ff; Vester, 1978, pp. 184.. After all, it is “only” a game.

This is especially true of role-playing games in which we act “as if” we were knights, elves or orcs. But even in games in which we do not slip into obvious game roles, as is the case in alternate reality games (ARGs), we nevertheless do adopt a role in the sense that we act “as if” something were “real” even though we know that it is not.

It could be a bomb from which we recoil in panic and then attempt to defuse with all the seriousness of someone facing a real explosive device. Or it could be a person who we treat with respect because they present themselves as a police officer, even though we know that they are really just an NPC (a non-player character — the game equivalent of an extra in a film).

Participants in games are often less likely to be discouraged by setbacks; indeed, after “failing” they often return to the challenge with even more motivation than before[11]McGonigal, J., 2012, pp. 64ff..

Edularp: Learning by Doing

For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.Aristotle

Furthermore, Edularp is what we refer to as an action-oriented method[12]Cf. Balzer, 2009, pp.13.. That means that participants learn not through flat theories or lecturing from the blackboard but rather that they truly become active in the lesson or subject matter by trying it out themselves, through their own actions. Edularp is, in the truest sense of the word, learning by doing[13]The expression “learning by doing” comes to us not, as is often claimed, from John Dewey, but

rather from the English translation of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, 1985, p. 27f..

That means that the participants learn with all their senses. When they viscerally experience the content, when they physically exert themselves, when they smell the appropriate smells and see the appropriate visuals, their entire bodies act as sounding boards both for the experience itself and for their reflections on what they have experienced and learned[14]Cf. van Ameln, F., Kramer, J., 2007, pp. 393..

With Edularp it is possible to present topics that are typically dry or theoretical in ways that make them accessible to sensible experience or allow them to be expressed in symbolic ways[15]Cf. van Ameln, F., Kramer, J., 2007, pp. 392.. If, for example, one is on a spaceship and the navigation computer suddenly malfunctions, so that the only way to plot a new course is to solve a differential equation; or if one has to infiltrate and analyze a new cult in order to prevent them from carrying out a terrorist attack; or if one is maltreated by inhumane prison guards[16]The first example (spaceship) is taken from a game from Østerskov Efterskole, the second example (cult) is taken from a game designed by the authors, while the third example comes from “Prisoner for One Day”, cf. Aarebrot, E. et al., 2012, pp. 24–29.; what might have been abstract content is instead placed in a concrete, practical context and takes on tangible relevance.

Thus, participants in an Edularp learn not only with their heads but with their guts, with their emotions, senses, and intellects. It is by simultaneously addressing the cognitive and the emotional faculties that the learning content becomes truly relevant and emotionally meaningful to the learner. This means that they can learn more easily and, above all, with greater retention[17]Cf. van Ameln, F., Kramer, J., 2007, pp. 395..

Edularp in Practice

For several years Edularp has been used professionally around the world to successfully achieve diverse goals in a variety of contexts[18]Cf. e.g.: http://seekersunlimited.com/, http://rollespilsfabrikken.dk/, http://osterskov.dk/, http:// www.waldritter.de/ or Aarebrot, E., et al., 2012.. But how do those individuals who teach with games in general and with larps in particular obtain their competency?

Until now most “knights of education” have been pedagogues, teachers, trainers, social workers, caretakers, therapists and psychologists who typically stumbled upon the larp hobby in their private lives and who independently recognized the huge didactic and pedagogical potential of live- action role-playing[19]Cf. Balzer, 2009. — even in its hobby variant.

They were often pioneers in their fields and had to expend enormous effort to be able to offer their students, patients or participants active learning — live, dynamic and in color.

Nearly 35 years after the first known larp[20]As the history of larp is often contentious I would like to refer the reader to the English-language Wikipedia article on the topic, which is actively and internationally edited: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/larp we found the time ripe for making it easier for young, interested teaching students to utilize the method. To that end we developed a teaching seminar for the University of Siegen Department of Education.

The goal was not just to inform teaching students about the theoretical advantages of live action role-playing in general and Edularp in particular — in the practical seminar we explicitly concerned ourselves with putting the students in a position to develop and run their own Edularps[21]With our draft seminar we were able to obtain a teaching commission from the University of Siegen. After submitting the written application and presenting the concept to the Department of Education a commission selected our proposed seminar for the didactic module in its 2013/2014 winter semester course offerings.

Gamification vs. Edularp

In addition to presenting the subject in as practical a manner as possible, our goal was to prepare our students to implement playful learning in real classroom situations in their later careers. Thus our goal was that our students would leave the seminar equipped not only with the theoretical and practical skills to take their children on a two-week “class trip” to Middle Earth, but that they would also be able to employ individual elements of gameplay in their teaching in whatever measure they might find effective and appropriate. That is, that they would be able to use the whole Edularp method as well as smaller elements of games and gameplay.

For this reason we began with an overview of the full breadth of the topic of playful learning, which ranges from learning games (including Edularp) on one end to gamification on the other.

Gamification - Learning Games

While participants in learning games are normally aware of the fact that they are playing a game[22]The so-called alternate reality games (ARGs) represent prominent exceptions: players do not necessarily always know if they are really playing a game. Cf. Gosney, J., 2005 and thus entering into a kind of alternative reality, this is not the case with gamification. Rather, gamification simply attaches individual elements of games — like badges or a ranking list — to normal reality[23]Deterding, 2011., or uses game design techniques to modify everyday processes and procedures[24]Cf. Werbach, Kevin, https://class.coursera.org/gamification-002/lecture/22..

The user of a gamified process does not enter into another reality or game world but rather remains fully and completely in the real world. This means that a gamified process is not a game! The goal of gamification is to make everyday processes more interesting, motivating and seemingly more rewarding. A prominent example of gamification is the app Foursquare, in which users can share their current locations (a restaurant, an event, etc.) with friends and in so doing be rewarded with badges. Another non-digital example from a time before the term gamification was coined is collecting frequent flyer miles, which American Airlines introduced in the early 1980s[25]The customer collects so-called frequent flyer miles with each flight and, if and when they have collected enough, they can then exchange them for prizes, discounts or access to airport lounges. Microsoft’s Rob Smith, who gamified the software testing process for Windows 7, provides another example. He managed to transform the normally very difficult and trying process of finding and notifying translation errors in the dialogue boxes into a fun experience for a total of 4,500 voluntary participants among his coworkers. Cf. http://gamification-research.org/wp-content/ uploads/2013/03/Smith.pdf..

There are also several very successful role models for the use of gamification in the classroom, like the Canadian project World of Classcraft[26]For more information see: http://www.classcraft.com/en/#intro., which gamifies individual school subjects; or the Quest to Learn school in New York City[27]For more information see: http://q2l.org/., which is run according to a fully gamified teaching plan. The didactic method that we taught to our students in the teaching seminar was explicitly intended to prepare them to utilize the entire spectrum between gamification and comprehensive learning games. Thus, the didactic methods we teach enable our students to not only conduct fully-realized Edularps, but to also include individual quests[28]The term“quest”originates in the classical hero’s journey (cf.Campbell,1999),but in contemporary usage in fantasy literature and computer games it means a task or a puzzle. in their normal teaching, as well as to “gamify” their normal lessons.

Our thinking is that by integrating individual game elements in their lessons they can gain experience teaching with games in school and then, bit by bit, take on larger projects.

Playful Learning: Learning in Games | A Practical Seminar

In order to teach the students in our seminar not only the necessary practical competencies for developing and conducting Edularps but also the necessary theoretical knowledge, the seminar was divided into four phases:

  1. Theoretical and practical introduction
  2. Development of the students’ own Edularp
  3. Playing the Edularp
  4. Reflection phase

The individual phases were divided into a total of ten sessions lasting an average of four hours each. The theoretical and especially the practical presentation of the content was important, but it was also important to impart to the students the knowledge and competencies necessary for successfully developing and realizing projects, like project planning and project management, efficient and sustainable communication within a project, etc.

Another consideration was that the students should work independently after the introductory phase, but that they should not be left to face the structuring of the process on their own.

Phase 1: Theoretical and Practical Introduction

The first phase of the seminar consisted of three sessions. In the first session we introduced the theoretical concept of games, larps, Edularps and alternate reality games (ARGs), as well as the didactic potential of Edularps. Our seminar participants were mostly new to larps, and so we introduced them to the topic by presenting successful examples of Edularps and gamification[29]We selected Østerskov Efterskole’s Harry Potter game (cf.: Hyltoft, M. and Holm, J.T., 2009) as an example of a successful Edularp. As an exceptional example of gamification we chose the Quest to Learn school (cf. http://q2l.org/). As an example of experience-based learning in a larp we selected “Prisoner for a Day” (cf. Aarebrot, E. and Nielsen, M., 2012)..

In order to impart to our students on a practical level what Edularps are and how it feels to take part in one, in the second session we enacted the four-hour interdisciplinary Edularp “Der Kreuz des Wotans” (Cross of Odin)[30]In the Edularp Der Kreuz des Wotans players must foil a cult’s plans for a terrorist bombing. The
Edularp was written by Myriel Balzer, Julia Kurz and Tinke Albach.
so that they would participate in one themselves.

For the third session the participants prepared an elevator pitch[31]An elevator pitch is a very brief and pointed presentation of a project intended to persuade the
listener to support it.The name comes from the fact that in an elevator one only has the duration of the ride to win the other party over.
as a homework assignment. Their task in preparation for the session was to think of a gripping story idea for an Edularp and to sketch out a learning quest and the intended learning content. They then had five minutes each to present their ideas at the start of the session as concisely and compellingly as possible, with the intent of persuading the others of the value of their own story ideas.

The goal of this introduction was that the students would be able to begin the development phase with a pool of ideas, rather than have to be creative “on demand” at the start of the practical phase. Building on the pitches, we then discussed what makes a good story, what elements a good game requires, and how a good learning quest should look.

In the second half of the session we presented the core of the seminar, the so- called game organization document (GOD), with which the students would have to develop and conduct their own Edularp in the subsequent practical phase. (A current version of the GOD can be downloaded from www.phoenixgamedesign.de free of charge.)

Phase 2 and 3: Development and Implementation of the Edularp

Since most of our students had no experience with larps or Edularps, it was important for us to give them a guide for their independent work. It was intended to guide them through the various phases of development, provide them with a concrete timeframe and schedule, and help them as much as possible to avoid overlooking any relevant steps or decisions. The game organization document (GOD) arose from these concerns.

The GOD is a form that asks the game developers to specify and explain all the key criteria for the game. In the course of defining and explaining the parameters specified in the generalized GOD, a specific game design document (GDD) for the Edularp under development begins to take shape bit by bit.

The game organization document is divided into seven categories:

  1. Constraints
  2. Project planning
  3. Learning content
  4. Storytelling
  5. External setup
  6. Game design
  7. Documents, materials, props, resources

Category 1: Constraints

The category Constraints includes all the requirements that the game absolutely must fulfil and that have already been specified or must be specified before the start of development. They may include conditions specified by third parties as well as requirements set by the developers themselves. They include things like the number as well as type(s) of participants (age, degree of fitness, etc.) and also factors like the resources that are available (e.g. budget or team strength) and the planned development time.

Category 2: Project Planning

The category Project Planning covers the composition of the team and the division of labor as well as the schedule, the communication pipelines[32]Communication pipelines are the ways in which the various members of a team should communicate with each other., and plans for documentation and data management.

Category 3: Learning Content

In the category Learning Content the developers are asked to define concretely the learning content that is to be conveyed by the game. This is also where the type of learning content (soft skills, hard skills, competences, experience, etc.) is specified. Our teaching students were also required to refer to the school curricula they were using in specific parts of the game.

Category 4: Storytelling

The category Storytelling includes all the elements that deal with the game’s story. This is where the developers formulate the plot. Its development and progress are delineated on a timeline. This is also where they define the setting, genre and topic of the game and specify the staging and dramaturgical elements.

Category 5: External Setup

In the category External Setup the developers are charged with determining all the elements of the game that are not immediate components of the actual game. That means all the elements that take place before the beginning or after the end of the actual game, like pre-workshops, warm- ups, debriefings, the transfer of learning content, the evaluation of the game, and/ or pervasive elements[33]Cf. Montola, Stenros, Waern, 2009.. Not every Edularp requires all the elements listed under this category. But it makes sense to consider all the elements and whether or not one’s own game requires them.

Category 6: Game Design

The category Game Design contains the template for the core of the future game design document. This is where the developers describe and visualize the construction of the game and its degree of linearity. This is where they define the victory conditions and determine whether the game can be won cooperatively or competitively.

They define possible game rules — both regulative rules and constitutive rules, as well as possible rules of irrelevance[34]Regulative rules are those that we typically refer to as the rules of the game. Constitutive rules,
as the name suggests, constitute the game and, for example, define roles and specify key rules or
victory conditions.The rules of irrelevance state that certain objects or facts should be ignored and
thus allow the actual gamespace to exist (cf. Denker and Ballstaedt, 1976, pp. 58).
. They formulate the call to action as well as the intended player motivation, and define points of interest[35]In this context, a point of interest is the next “point” on which the player should focus. For instance, finding the key to a locked door..They determine whether the players take on roles during the game, and who writes them; and they define the game world. In this category the developers explicitly define all the quests that occur in the game, describing their construction, learning goal(s), style, necessary additional knowledge, etc.

Category 7: Documents, Materials, Props, Resources

The final category Documents, Materials, Props, Resources determines what items are required for the game. All the texts that the players will have access to before, during or after the game, as well as those required for dealing with players, NPCs and game masters (such as in-game contacts or NPC briefings) are also attached here.

This explicit querying of all the important points of the Edularp successfully prevents inexperienced students from overlooking one or more points or failing to give them enough attention. In this seminar we also used the GOD to provide the students with a structured time frame. Thus each of the seven categories had its own deadline, specifying when each unit had to be presented to the instructors in its most-finished version. We thus made it impossible for the students to procrastinate and then attempt to get everything done at the last moment[36]Experienced planners need not adhere to the order in the GOD, though it will often make sense to do so. And of course, it is not possible to work out all the points separately from each other..

While relying on the GOD and the deadlines, the students developed their own Edularp as independently as possible over the course of the following five sessions. We were present during the work sessions and instructed the students that they should create a goal-oriented agenda for each session and ensure that they followed it. Upon completion of each point on the agenda, the students briefly presented their results and we gave them feedback. We also intervened in discussions or development processes here and there when they were in danger of heading in the wrong direction, and we were always available for questions. At the end of the practical phase we played through the Edularp with the students step by step a couple of times (on a theoretical level, without the full staging, etc.), checked it together for logic and consistency, and developed answers for worst-case scenarios.

An Edularp of Their Own

The students’ Edularp was played on the penultimate session and lasted almost exactly four hours. Our students took on all the relevant duties themselves, with the exception of one NPC role. Two of our students served as gamemasters and four others played NPC roles. They also arranged for a student from the university to play an additional NPC and for six others to take part as players; our students organized their participation independently.

In general the process of conducting their first independently designed Edularp was surprisingly smooth and went impressively according to plan. Their tightly-planned schedule functioned very well, and the players managed to work through the entire plot by approx. 5:30 pm (the plan called for them to finish between 5:20 and 5:45 pm). We only intervened once, at the request of both gamemasters, and guided their players back to the right path with a spontaneous NPC improvisation.

Otherwise we simply observed the entire run-through — while making ourselves available for consultation in case of uncertainty on the part of the gamemasters and NPCs — and we tried to avoid getting involved as much as possible.

The game design document for their Edularp — which describes the story and design of the game, etc. — can be downloaded from the author’s website (www.phoenixgamedesign.de) free of charge.

The Reflection Phase

In the last session we all sat together and discussed the seminar in general as well as the students’ Edularp In the course of the seminar we had our students fill out numerous reflection questionnaires regarding the seminar, the GOD and the initial Edularp that we conducted for them: our students also had their own players fill out reflection questionnaires regarding their own larp.

Edularp and Back Again

In principle it can be said that the seminar was a complete success. However, with the benefit of hindsight and feedback there are also some things that we would surely do differently in a future session. We have thus drastically shortened the theoretical portion of the first session for future seminars based on the students’ feedback. Naturally, those students who have no experience with larps must first be properly introduced to the topic.

But the ability to absorb information, especially in the course of a four-hour session, is limited and the primary emphasis of the seminar is on practice rather than theory. According to the students it was the Edularp that they played in the second session that really awakened their interest and their desire to try it out themselves. The examples of successful Edularps in the first session were less important.

Many of them wrote in their reflection questionnaires that it was only through their own participation that they really understood what an Edularp is. Many found the theoretical portion “unimportant” for the independent game development that followed. In the reflection questionnaires the game development process using the GOD was generally described positively, even though the responses did draw attention to a few stumbling blocks.

The students had particular trouble with the Learning Content category, which they felt appeared too early in the GOD. They would have preferred to specify the learning content in the course of developing the quest. However, since teachers must work according to prescribed curricula, we consciously chose this particular sequence to better reflect the realities of the job.

The students also had trouble with the new terminology. Although at the beginning of the practical phase we went over the GOD with them in detail and explained all the terminology in detail, the meaning of individual terms was nonetheless quickly forgotten because they were not documented. Today we would thus distribute a sort of glossary along with the game organization document.

The majority of the students wrote in the questionnaire that the Project Planning category was especially helpful. At the same time, they noted that they only gradually came to understand the importance of well-structured and explicit project management.

In our opinion the most central element of the success of the seminar was the game organization document and the clear scheduling requirements it prescribed for the individual tasks.

Additionally, it was important that the students were required to work in an organized and structured manner, and that they received guidance in doing so. The regular reflection and feedback rounds helped identify and confirm good ideas while rooting out as early as possible ideas that fell outside the scope of the Edularp.

Works Cited

Aarebrot, E. and Nielsen, M. “Prisoner for a Day. Creating a game without winners”, in Aarebrot, E., et. al. (Eds.), Playing the learning game: A practical introduction to educational roleplaying, based on experiences from The Larpwriter Challenge, Fantasi Forbundet, Oslo, pp. 24–29, 2012.

Aristotle, Die Nikomachische Ethik. Auf der Grundlage der Übersetzung von Eugen Rohfes herausgegeben von Günther Bien. 4. Auflage. Hamburg: Meiner, 1985.

Baer, U., Spielpädagogik: Arbeitsblätter zur Spielepädagogik, Robin Hood Versand, Remscheid, 1982.

Balzer, M., Live Action Role Playing: Die Entwicklung realer Kompetenzen in virtuellen Welten, Tectum-Verlag, Marburg, 2009.

Brougère, G., Some Elements Relating to Children’s Play and Adult Simulation/ Gaming. Simulation & Gaming, 30(2), 134-146., “Surplus Reality” in Moreno, J. L. (1965). Therapeutic Vehicles and the Concept of Surplus Reality. Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama, 18, 211- 216, 1999.

Campbell, J., Der Heros in tausend Gestalten, Insel-Verlag, Frankfurt am Main, 1999.

Corbeil, P., Learning from the Children: Practical and Theoretical Reflections on Playing and Learning. Simulation & Gaming, 30(2), 163-180. 1999.

Deterding, Sebastian et. al., Gamification: Toward a Definition (PDF; 136 kB). In: Mindtrek 2011 Proceedings, ACM Press, Tampere, 2011.

Denker, R., Ballstaedt, S., Aggression im Spiel – mit Anleitungen zu Gruppen und Gesellschaftsspielen, Stuttgart: Verlag W. Kohlhammer GmbH, 1976.

Goffman, E., Rahmen-Analyse. Frankfurt/M.: Suhrkamp. Oder der magic circle of gameplay, 1977.

Gosney, J., Beyond reality: A guide to alternate reality gaming, Thomson Course Technology PTR, Boston, MA, 2005.

Henriksen, T.D., “Extending Experiences of Learning Games. Or Why Learning Games Should Be neither Fun, Educational nor Realistic”, in Leino, O., Wirman, H. and Fernandez, A. (Eds.), Extending Experiences: Structure, analysis and design of computer game player experience, Lapland University Press, Rovaniemi, pp. 140–162, 2008.

Huizinga, J., Homo ludens: Vom Ursprung der Kultur im Spiel, rororo Rowohlts Enzyklopädie, Vol. 55435, 21. Aufl., Rowohl Taschenbuch- Verl., Reinbek bei Hamburg. 1938/1939.

Hyltoft, M., “The Role-Players’ School. Østerskov Efterskole”, in Montola, M. and Stenros, J. (Eds.), Playground Worlds: Creating and Evaluating Experiences of Role-Playing Games, Published in conjunction with Solmukohta 2008, Ropecon ry, pp. 12–25, 2008.

Hyltoft, M. and Holm, J.T., “Elements of Harry Potter. Deconstructing an edu-larp”, in Holter, M., Fatland, E. and Tømte, E. (Eds.), Larp, the Universe and Everything: An anthology on the theory and practice of live role-playing (larp), published in conjunction with Knutepunkt 2009, pp. 27–42, 2009.

Hyltoft, M., “Four Reasons why Edu- Larp works”, in Dombrowski, K. (Ed.), LARP: Einblicke, Aufsatzsammlung zum Mittelpunkt 2010, Zauberfeder Verlag, Braunschweig, pp. 43–58., 2010.

McGonigal, J., Reality is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World; [includes practical advice for gamers], Vintage Books, London. pp. 119ff, 2012.

Montola, M.; Stenros, J.; Waren, A., Pervasive Games – Experiences on the Boundary Between Life and Play, Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, 2008.

Moreno, J.L., “Therapeutic vehicles and the concept of surplus reality”, Group Psychotherapy, Vol. 18, pp. 211-216, 1965.

Suits, B., The grasshopper: Games, life and utopia, Broadview Press, Peterborough, Ont., 2005.

van Ameln, F. und Kramer Josef, “Wirkprinzipien handlungsorientierter Beratungs- und Trainingsmethoden”, Zeitschrift für Gruppendynamik und Organisationsberatung, Vol. 38 No. 4, pp. 389–406, 2007.

Vester, F., Denken, Lernen, Vergessen. Stuttgart: dtv, 1978.

Internet Resources

This article was initially published in The Knudepunkt 2015 Companion Book which was edited by Charles Bo Nielsen & Claus Raasted, published by Rollespilsakademiet and released as part of documentation for the Knudepunkt 2015 conference.

Cover photo: Stockholm Scenario Festival 2014 by Johannes Axner is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

References   [ + ]

1. Cf. Hyltoft, Malik, 2008.
2. The term Edularp stands for “educational live action role-playing game”.
3. Henriksen (2008) argues for the contrary opinion, according to which learning games neither must nor should be fun.
4. Cf. Corbeil, 1999, pp. 173.
5. Cf. Hyltoft, M., 2010, pp. 48.
6. Suits (2005) has even made the overcoming of unnecessary obstacles the core of his definition of games:“Playing a game is the voluntary attempt to overcome unnecessary obstacles.”
7. Baer, U., 1982.
8. Authors from different fields have described this alternative reality in a number of different ways, but often mean the same thing or at least a similar thing: the “situation of the second degree” in Brougère, G., 1999, the “frame” in Goffman, E., 1977, pp. 52, the “surplus reality” in Moreno, 1965 or the “magic circle of gameplay” in Huizinga, 1938/1939.
9. Cf. McGonigal, J., 2012, pp. 119ff.
10. Cf. van Ameln, F. and Kramer, Josef, 2007, pp. 397; Hyltoft, M., 2010, pp. 45ff; Vester, 1978, pp. 184.
11. McGonigal, J., 2012, pp. 64ff.
12. Cf. Balzer, 2009, pp.13.
13. The expression “learning by doing” comes to us not, as is often claimed, from John Dewey, but

rather from the English translation of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, 1985, p. 27f.

14. Cf. van Ameln, F., Kramer, J., 2007, pp. 393.
15. Cf. van Ameln, F., Kramer, J., 2007, pp. 392.
16. The first example (spaceship) is taken from a game from Østerskov Efterskole, the second example (cult) is taken from a game designed by the authors, while the third example comes from “Prisoner for One Day”, cf. Aarebrot, E. et al., 2012, pp. 24–29.
17. Cf. van Ameln, F., Kramer, J., 2007, pp. 395.
18. Cf. e.g.: http://seekersunlimited.com/, http://rollespilsfabrikken.dk/, http://osterskov.dk/, http:// www.waldritter.de/ or Aarebrot, E., et al., 2012.
19. Cf. Balzer, 2009.
20. As the history of larp is often contentious I would like to refer the reader to the English-language Wikipedia article on the topic, which is actively and internationally edited: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/larp
21. With our draft seminar we were able to obtain a teaching commission from the University of Siegen. After submitting the written application and presenting the concept to the Department of Education a commission selected our proposed seminar for the didactic module in its 2013/2014 winter semester course offerings.
22. The so-called alternate reality games (ARGs) represent prominent exceptions: players do not necessarily always know if they are really playing a game. Cf. Gosney, J., 2005
23. Deterding, 2011.
24. Cf. Werbach, Kevin, https://class.coursera.org/gamification-002/lecture/22.
25. The customer collects so-called frequent flyer miles with each flight and, if and when they have collected enough, they can then exchange them for prizes, discounts or access to airport lounges. Microsoft’s Rob Smith, who gamified the software testing process for Windows 7, provides another example. He managed to transform the normally very difficult and trying process of finding and notifying translation errors in the dialogue boxes into a fun experience for a total of 4,500 voluntary participants among his coworkers. Cf. http://gamification-research.org/wp-content/ uploads/2013/03/Smith.pdf.
26. For more information see: http://www.classcraft.com/en/#intro.
27. For more information see: http://q2l.org/.
28. The term“quest”originates in the classical hero’s journey (cf.Campbell,1999),but in contemporary usage in fantasy literature and computer games it means a task or a puzzle.
29. We selected Østerskov Efterskole’s Harry Potter game (cf.: Hyltoft, M. and Holm, J.T., 2009) as an example of a successful Edularp. As an exceptional example of gamification we chose the Quest to Learn school (cf. http://q2l.org/). As an example of experience-based learning in a larp we selected “Prisoner for a Day” (cf. Aarebrot, E. and Nielsen, M., 2012).
30. In the Edularp Der Kreuz des Wotans players must foil a cult’s plans for a terrorist bombing. The
Edularp was written by Myriel Balzer, Julia Kurz and Tinke Albach.
31. An elevator pitch is a very brief and pointed presentation of a project intended to persuade the
listener to support it.The name comes from the fact that in an elevator one only has the duration of the ride to win the other party over.
32. Communication pipelines are the ways in which the various members of a team should communicate with each other.
33. Cf. Montola, Stenros, Waern, 2009.
34. Regulative rules are those that we typically refer to as the rules of the game. Constitutive rules,
as the name suggests, constitute the game and, for example, define roles and specify key rules or
victory conditions.The rules of irrelevance state that certain objects or facts should be ignored and
thus allow the actual gamespace to exist (cf. Denker and Ballstaedt, 1976, pp. 58).
35. In this context, a point of interest is the next “point” on which the player should focus. For instance, finding the key to a locked door.
36. Experienced planners need not adhere to the order in the GOD, though it will often make sense to do so. And of course, it is not possible to work out all the points separately from each other.

Authors

Myriel Balzer
Myriel Balzer (born 1981) works as a freelance game designer and game researcher. In 2008 she completed her studies of sociology, psychology and peace and conflict research and graduated with a German Diplom (equivalent with a master’s or post-graduate degree) in sociology. Her thesis was published under the title Live Action Role Playing – Die Entwicklung realer Kompetenzen in virtuellen Welten (Live Action Role Playing: The Development of Real Competencies in Virtual Worlds) by Tectum Verlag. After a staff position as lead game designer she founded her own independent label in 2009, Phoenix Game Design, and currently concentrates on digital games. She organized her first live action role-playing event in 2001 and has had contact with role-playing and fantasy since childhood.
Julia Kurz
Julia Kurz (born 1982) studied sociology, philosophy and economics in Marburg and Siegen. Today she works as a scientific employee in the University of Siegen’s Department of Education. There she occupies herself with the acquisition and transmission of knowledge and competencies in formal and informal contexts. She views live action role-playing games as a possibility for transferring the advantages of informal learning to formal contexts.
  • That idea that they use in teaching looks pretty interesting for many students who would love to hear something while they learn. It’s actually good to use some new ideas on how are you going to make your performance to be improved.

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