Many schools, facilities, organizations, and professionals throughout the world, have found that using role-playing games are highly effective as instructional modalities for increasing student engagement and retention in many academic topics.
In the area of education, it is a well researched evidence-based area where RPGs have been proven an effective facilitation technique to achieve specific measurable hoals.
Here is a collection of research using RPGs for education: http://rpgr.org/documents/rpg-research-project/archives/rpg-education
Appropriately using role-playing games for serious academic topics can help enable students to engage with their already assigned primary sources in ways that conventional seminar-style discussion does not. Studies in education and psychology have shown that role-playing helps students practice empathy and communication. For example, using a historical role-playing game can encourage students to inhabit a worldview wholly unlike their own. They can then emerge with a new understanding of the thinking and logic used during that time period, supporting controversial or complex topics.