Role-playing games are a very interesting way to teach various academic subjects, especially history. After all, history is nothing but a collection of stories! Online group role-playing games are a staple in entertainment and are now gaining popularity in the world of e-learning as well.
The learner can play through a game placed in a historical setting, either as a common person or as one of the great men and women of the time. Thanks to the immersive, interactive learning experience, they learn about the social mores of the time. They learn about historical perspectives and thought processes, as they play as one of the people of the time period. This brings history to life far better than simple theoretical education.
Logical integration of role-play with the curriculum
Don’t depend exclusively on role-play. Instead, use game-based learning consciously, by integrating the game meaningfully into the curriculum. Use games as a support, and ensure that they align with the overall learning objectives and the course content. Design the game and gameplay based on the age and prior experience of the learner. Create meaningful scenarios set around major historical events and characters. These interactive learning scenarios bring history to life for the learner and clarify the objectives and thought processes of the people they’re learning about.
What games should you choose?
Which role-playing games should you use? Select based on content, themes, and level of interaction and immersion. Based on the age and knowledge levels of the learners, pick a game that’s the right level of engaging, challenging and accessible. Keep technical constraints in mind as well.
When you set up interactive game-based learning based on storytelling or role-play, your students can step into the shoes of historical characters. This gives them a new perspective, allowing them to empathize with historical figures. This further challenges their assumptions, leading to more critical thinking and a deeper understanding of history and the world.
Let’s talk strategy games
Historical strategy games such as Civilization and Age of Empires have been popular as a tool for history training. These introduce learners to a brief history of mankind. Civilization aims to convert a prehistoric society into a post-modern one, as fast as possible. It walks you through the different historical ages, like the dark age or the imperial Ages. Each comes with its own kind of buildings, weapons, and technologies.
Age of Empires is similar but focuses more on war and conquest than tech. There have been criticisms that the games are too Western-centric, but this is a problem only if they are the only historical educational tools being used. Such game-based learning can be supported by a more holistic theoretical historical perspective, or by modifying the game to suit other cultures.
How do role-playing games help students learn history?
With virtual simulations and playable scenarios, students have a hands-on, interactive learning experience that’s much more realistic and engaging. It’s nearly impossible to replicate this kind of learning in a traditional classroom environment.
Such games are also a great way to encourage collaboration. They allow students to work together and share their ideas to build teamwork and problem-solving skills.
Evaluation and assessment
It’s possible to use online role-playing games for the assessment of historical concepts. They can also be used for the learners to reflect on the subject matter. This is a great way for students to revise and better absorb the material.
Since role-playing games are in an early stage of use in e-learning, it’s important to regularly evaluate their effectiveness. Do regularly check in with your learners through surveys and other evaluation tools to confirm that learner engagement is increasing over time. Keep track of the impact of role-playing games on real learning outcomes. Based on that, you can refine the approach and make improvements as needed.
Through role-playing games, history educators can make the e-learning experience more interactive and engaging. From interactive simulations to virtual reality experiences, role-playing games have the potential to revolutionize learner engagement and the way we teach history. Talk to our experts to get started on your history e-learning project today.