Role-play is a valuable teaching and training tool that delivers immense amount of imprinted learning. This learning is retained and recalled better through the role-play experience. While it is evolving as a very effective, interactive teaching and training tool, many feel unprepared and uncomfortable about participating, or using role-play in routine teaching and training.
I have just returned from a two day teaching the trainers stint, where we used role-play as a tool to enormous benefit for the participants. I also use role-play in one to one teaching and training. I am constantly amazed at the level and depth of learning that occurs through effective deployment of this tool, the way it can be adapted to teach anything from knowledge, skillsor to explore and expose attitudes. We discussed the art of constructing the role-play, the principles that underpin this tool and what kind of learning occursthrough its use that I thought I could share with you.
What is role-play?
Role play in a simulation exercise where persons take on assumed roles in order to act out a scenario in a contrived setting. The learners or participants can act out the assigned roles in order to explore the scenario, apply skills (maybe communication, negotiation, debate etc.), experience the scenario from another view point, evoke and understand emotions that maybe alien to them. It helps to make sense of theory and gathers together the concepts into a practical experience. This deeply rooted in the principles of constructivist teaching.
Role-play is also used a term for gaming, simulation and in couples interaction. In this we are going to talk about role-play as a teaching/training tool. [pic]
Constructing meaning in a learner is a far better way to make learning memorable than simple transmission. In children the excitement of the role play, the interaction and stimulation to visual, auditory and kinaesthetic styles of learning helps a broad range of learners.
In adults the tool respects their prior knowledge, experience and the reality they bring to a concept. It helps to make the concept being taught to be constructed and then reflected on. It helps to move beyond any comfort zones and helps bring on attitudinal change through different viewpoints too. It helps to develop all domains of learning, cognitive (knowledge) , psychomotor (skills) and affective ( emotional)
It’s also a lot of fun (trust me) and helps shake off those lecture room cobwebs .
There is plenty of evidence that confirms the retention from participation is far higher than any other modes of learning.
Knowledge, Skills & Attitudes
How does role-play work?
The choice of the role-play relies on the learning agenda and has to have clear aims and objectives. There are various ways role-play can work.
a) Observation : learning through observation and reflection happens when a group of learners watch a specifically constructed role-play using actors, simulators or even played by the tutors.
b) Modelling: Helps to learn a concept or an idea through participation. For example children can learn about history and historical figures by acting out scenes. While adults can participate in a constructed scenario- like an angry customer, worried patients etc.
c) Contemplation: It helps to stimulate analysis through exploring complex concepts and debating issues- usually ethical problems where there is no clear right or wrong.
d) Skills development: The participant can practice and develop skills such as breaking bad news, calming down an angry client, negotiating with customers etc.
e)Self-reflection: through participating in role-play the learners are bring many of their hidden attitudes to the surface and it helps them understand their own prejudices biases and assumptions. It helps to see the world...