Role Playing Games in Higher Ed: David W. Simkins

World of Warcraft is one of the largest role playing game that exists right now. It is a role playing game because players take a role. Another example is Dungenouns and Dragons. These are influences, but let’s start with a higher ed curriculum.

Some Role Playing Games already in Higher Ed Curriculum

  • In “Model UN” to take a role of a dipomat in a model government. Mock Trials, Government role playing happen a good bit in the curriculum
  • Another type, the negotiation game, is used quite a bit in law courses. The goal is to take a role and negotiate.
  • The third form is the psyodrama. The goal is to create an emotional situation. Often this looks liek a simple reenactment.

RP Concepts

  • Participants take on a role (Status and Responsibility)
  • Roles are played consistent in a shared context
  • Guided by rules. These are defined by the domain being explored.
  • In-game and out-of-game boundaries are protected. (Huizinga’s magic circle)

RP Design

  • Consequence: Action P leads to Result Q. One of the errors is not allowing the players to actually change the system.
  • Mirroring: If Person P does something to person Q, person Q responds and that effects person P. The main mistake is not having it. Instead of waiting for the debrief, give an in-game reasonable response.
  • Social Context: Every person exists within a social context. These are all the details that have “grown up out of practice” within the context. Biggest problem is not having one that is shared and amply defined.
  • Freedom. For example, they can climb on a table and screem and suffer the consequences. They cannot however change the facts.

Elements that benefit from the application of these four lenses

  • PC’s: For example, when looking at consequence, if the players role does not logically have the power to create changes, they should be done by the facilitator.
  • PC Relationships
  • Critical Path
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