USING LARPS IN EDUCATION
In Berlin, Germany, from March 31 to April 9, 2023, an exciting and transformative project unfolded: the Erasmus+ Trainer Course “Using LARPs in Education.” This immersive training initiative, facilitated by the dynamic duo of Ivan Makarov and Yauheniya Siadova, brought together a diverse group of youth workers, trainers, educators, social workers, teachers, and museum professionals, all with a common goal: harnessing the power of Live Action Role Play (LARP) as a potent educational tool.
The driving force behind this project was to empower these dedicated individuals to breathe life into their educational endeavors. The project’s multifaceted objectives included igniting curiosity, embracing diverse perspectives, creating spaces for deep reflection, crafting memorable experiences, and ultimately inspiring participants to champion their causes or organizations through the captivating medium of LARP. Central to its success was the incorporation of non-formal education methods, which provided the foundation for an enriching 10-day journey divided into two distinct phases.
During the initial phase, participants embarked on a voyage of discovery, immersing themselves in the art of LARP. As they delved deeper into the world of role-playing, they gained hands-on experience, starting with simple scenarios and gradually escalating to more complex and engaging narratives. Alongside these immersive experiences, they participated in workshops that honed their skills in script development. The project also emphasized the importance of teamwork and unity within an international context, fostering connections that would serve them well in future LARP sessions.
The second phase of the project was dedicated to the creative process of crafting LARP scripts. Participants worked in teams, leveraging LARP design canvases and mentor guidance to bring their ideas to life. This collaborative endeavor culminated in the presentation of their freshly minted LARPs to their peers. These trial runs provided invaluable feedback, allowing the authors to fine-tune their scripts for optimal engagement.
As the project drew to a close, participants left with a robust toolkit. They possessed a profound understanding of LARP, each having played at least three LARPs, seen international LARP perspectives, and co-created a scenario. They also carried with them self-designed LARP scenarios tailored to their target audiences, access to resources for crafting new LARPs, knowledge of prop utilization, and an awareness of how sound and lighting could elevate the LARP experience. Importantly, they were equipped with strategies for making LARPs accessible to all, fostering inclusivity.
The project placed a spotlight on four overarching priorities: Inclusion and Diversity, Digital Transformation, Environment & Sustainability, and Participation in Democratic Life, European Values, and Civic Engagement. These themes resonated throughout the project, with a commitment to welcoming applicants facing various barriers, employing digital tools for communication and content delivery, promoting sustainability in both content and practice, and advocating for EU values and civic engagement.
The acquisition of competencies was a pivotal aspect of the project. Participants developed multilingual competence, honed personal and social skills, gained insights into citizenship, cultivated entrepreneurship skills, and improved their digital competence. This comprehensive skill set empowered them to navigate the world of LARP with confidence and impact.
In the end, this project yielded five thought-provoking LARP scenarios, each tailored to address different facets of local communities’ needs and interests. Topics ranged from the Cold War era to collaboration in the face of deception, coping mechanisms, debating skills, and the importance of maintaining bonds in a rapidly changing world.
While most LARP scripts remained confidential, one script was made available on the project’s Chance International webpage. This offered a glimpse into the creative potential generated during the training.
The project’s results were shared widely, leveraging platforms like Instagram to disseminate its impact, thereby reaching a broader audience and fostering the adoption of LARP in education.
Certainly, no project is without its challenges. One team encountered difficulties during the development of their LARP, driven by diverse leadership styles and approaches. However, this obstacle was surmounted through a process of deep reflection and the adoption of a scenario from a prior LARP-related project, which provided invaluable lessons in teamwork and adaptability.
In summary, the Erasmus+ Trainer Course “Using LARPs in Education” transcended geographical borders and language barriers to equip its diverse participants with a transformative toolkit. Through the power of LARP, this initiative not only inspired learning but also nurtured inclusivity, sustainability, and civic engagement, leaving a lasting imprint on all involved.