Role play is widely acknowledged as a powerful face-to-face teaching technique. Participants take on the roles of specific characters in a contrived setting. Role play builds first person experience in a safe environment.
Metaphors for role play include theatre and martial arts. There is a role play mediator, aka director and sensei, and there are role play characters, aka actors and students. The mediator provides the role play learning scenario and character roles, aka script and kata. The characters learn their parts and interact. The role play may be repeated, becoming more sophisticated as learning occurs.
Now add Avatar role play. Participants take on roles, but now they interact in a 3-D virtual world. For the mediator, it is possible to construct broader realistic environments. For the participant, there is a fuller sense of immersion into the character and role.
Now add Avatar Scalability. A mediator can design a role play for 100 on-line participants divided into multiple factions. Not only can each character have their own temperament and skills, but also each faction can have their own internal organization and agenda. For the mediator, it is possible to construct more sophisticated scenarios, with hundreds of communication and learning factors at play. For the participant, there is a richer environment of protocols to learn and greater depth of understanding.
Scalable Avatar Role Play can be considered a genre of Serious Games. If you would like to learn more about Scalable Avatar Role Play, and even participate in one, read about MOSES Avatar Scalability Experiments here.