University of Denver

"Best Training Session Ever" Is a Live Action Role Play

Former Senior Director

Over at the Talent Code, Daniel Coyle talks about a trauma surgeon who described the best training session he ever witnessed: an unexpected, staged accident, complete with chaos, fake blood, and hidden victims. The medical students' response to the accident was videotaped and they returned to class to review the tape and discuss what went well (and what didn't).

In law school there might not be much use for fake blood, but there are educators asking students to role play.

From Coyle:

This kind of learning falls under the general heading of LARP — live action role play – and it has a few key features:

  1. You're pretending to be someone you're not (yet, anyway)
  2. You perform in “live” conditions, with real emotional pressure
  3. You get vivid, speedy feedback
  4. You repeat it over and over

Effective LARP requires something else: a certain immunity to embarrassment. It feels more than a little goofy pretending to be a sportswriter, or pretending to take care of fake victims. I think that's one reason why LARP tends to be vastly under-used — which, in my opinion, is a missed opportunity.