Role-play games can create a powerful experience for players. When conducted outside of the classroom in a playful environment, role-play games inspire people to have meaningful interactions with their peers and learn more about their game setting or character. Role-play is also an effective interactive learning technique proven to help students deepen their learning in class. However, teachers wanting to incorporate interactive role-play in their classrooms have trouble not only finding or developing appropriate activities but also facilitating a real-time amorphous activity. In typical in-class role-play activities, many of the learning and socio-emotional benefits of role-playing games are lost.

We interviewed role-play gamers and instructors who use role-play in class to discover how they view role-play differently and how they use technology in role-play differently. We are investigating how facilitators manage role-play activities differently so that we can help teachers find benefits from role-play more like the benefits of role-play games. We are also exploring the possibility of using technology to help teachers conduct role-play activities. Our research revealed two primary ways that educators can draw on role-play game expertise to improve the quality of classroom role-play: group cohesion and preserving the spirit of the experience.


How role play games can inform interactive learning systems, CHIPlay 2017


Amy Cook
Jessica Hammer
Steven Dow