One of the most concretely applied subtypes of Interactive Narratives, Educational Live Action Roleplay or “Edularp” has gained great popularity in the past few years since its inception in Scandinavia. The concept has now reached USA, Israel/Palestine, Belarus, Brazil and beyond. Utilising methods derived from the live action roleplaying game types unique to the Nordic region, the interactive narratives of Edularps are now being used to heighten both engagement and learning in education and commercial environments alike.
Similar to a real world simulation, an Edularp offers the narrative to be experienced through a physical world, built or chosen for the particular pedagogic and artistic purpose. The participants co-create the story with the designers by improvisational drama similar to audience-free improvisation theatre. Through a common backstory – created and facilitated by the designer – it is possible to create a web of incentives for player to player interaction, based both on character motivations in the story and player motivation to succeed and “win” the game. This all can create very immersive, engaging experiences, capable of motivating students, and giving them the opportunity to truly embody knowledge and try it out in a non-threatening environment.
A few examples of Edularps:
- A historical reenactment of the Roman senate, where the players try to achieve their character’s political goals, while learning about the formalia behind our modern day democratic parliamentarism, the math and physics of road and aqueduct building, and geography and history in the different barbarian peoples the military face through their conquests.
- A game of math set in a post-apocalypse where the participants get to rebuild a society, with a new political system of their design, calculate the food and agriculture needs for their aspiring civilisation and learn to build houses.
- A game where the players portray a crisis situation, and try out the company’s security and crisis management systems. Dealing with people in chock, taking on the role of others in the organisation and understanding other perspectives.
- A Harry Potter game about the basic elements of chemistry, using different elements to cast different spells, all played in English (for non-native english speakers). The plots revolve around a competition between the different houses and the spells will be invaluable to solve the tasks to win, so you have to learn them.