Role Play

Role Play

From Learning and training wiki

Jump to: navigation, search
Term2.png ROLE PLAY
A training technique in which people assume a role in a certain scenario; where in a simulation exercise participants act out specified roles in the dramatization of an event. The way in which the role is approached is then discussed and feedback is provided. The role play may then be repeated incorporating changes made based on the feedback received. The purpose of role playing is to achieve better understanding of a situation by experiencing a realistic simulation. Role playing is useful as a training exercise, transforming the content of learning from information into experience. [1]

Toolkit.png Organizing a Role Play

Step by Step

  1. Preparing
    • Create a scenario describing the situation in two-or-three sentences to give to all participants.
    • Set Role cards (minimum two) containing instructions for different roles: characters, tasks and objectives.
    • Set Observer role card (minimum one) containing specific, measurable items to be observed: negative and positive points, behaviors, suggestions.
    • Reserve sufficient time for exercice completion and feedback.
  2. Launching
    • Introduce the exercise and its objectives. Be very clear about what you want people to get out of the role playing experience. Muddy thinking at the outset will result in muddy outcomes. Clear thinking and role play preparation result in clear outcomes.
    • Define it as an experience around a specific situation which contains two or more different viewpoints or perspectives.
    • Give the time involved and outline the expected results. It is important to say it is a play in order to dedramatize the stake.
    • Assign roles and ask players and observer to get ready for the role play according to the instructions on the card.
    • Instruct participants to take their positions: players are seated facing each other. The observer/s is/are seated in front of the role players.
  3. Managing
    • Monitor the role play.The trainer and the observer should not interfere during the play.
  4. Debriefing
    • Explain that the players will first give their own feedback, then the observer, then the trainer. The order of feedback is important.
    • Guide the comments: first positive comments, then points to be improved, then suggestions. Feedback should broadly follow SMART principles (Specific, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic, Time-bound).
    • Summarize lessons learned for participants.
  5. Replaying
    • Take the same situation (or a different one) but give everyone a chance to role-play and critique. [2]

Job Aid

Pdf.png Organizing a Role Play


  1. ( 25 July 2008), (25 July 2008); e-Learning Solutions on a Shoestring, Jane Bozarth, 2005
  2. (2 September 2008), (2 September 2008) (3 October 2008)