The Player-Learner Experience: A Comparison of Game Masters and Pedagogical Practices


  • Josh Aaron Miller


roleplaying games, game mastering, pedagogical principles, design principles, interaction design


The game master (GM) in a tabletop roleplaying game serves many roles, from planning and directing a game to teaching other players how to play. In many ways, this role mirrors that of an instructor in the classroom who plans, orates, and directs a lesson. There are several game design tools and techniques which good GMs use to successfully engage their players, and these design principles parallel how good teachers lead a class. This article serves three purposes: first, to highlight the parallel relationships between the GM-Teacher and the Player-Learner; second, to propose this comparison as a lens to understanding the art of designed playful learning experiences; and finally, to offer a practical guide (in the Appendix) to GMs and teachers alike in interaction design, emphasizing the Player-Learner’s experience as a critical factor for enjoyable play and effective learning.





@Conference{digra1917, title ="The Player-Learner Experience: A Comparison of Game Masters and Pedagogical Practices", year = "2023", author = "Aaron Miller, Josh", publisher = "DiGRA", address = "Tampere", howpublished = "\url{}", booktitle = "Conference Proceedings of DiGRA 2023 Conference: Limits and Margins of Games Settings"}