In role playing activities participants act as various characters or roles. Role playing activities encourage students to “put themselves in another’s shoes” in order to act out a fictional scenario.
Application to All Courses
- Develops empathy, new insights, and enlivens discussion.
- Conveys information to stimulate discussion and communication.
- Allows for a variety of situations and parameters such as model organizations, mock trials and legislatures, political discussions, human relationships, and foreign language scenarios.
- Allows adult learners to bring personal experience into role play activities.
- Asynchronous role playing activities allows for students to reflect and consider options while participating.
- Online role playing can be structured to provide students with a greater degree of anonymity thus encouraging participation from all students.
- Role playing activities garner attention, participation, and motivation from students.
When considering role playing activities it is helpful to consider
- What is the purpose of the role playing activity? For example character building? To demonstrate sides of an argument? To illustrate an example? To simulate a real life situation?
- How many roles will be assigned and who will each role be assigned to?
- Are there guidelines for the characteristics of the role? How will these be communicated to the student?
- What will be the required elements of the role playing exercise? What must the student display while playing his or her role?
- How will the role playing activity be evaluated?
Tools for Synchronous Role Play
- Utilize IM or Chat, or Web Conferencing for synchronous text-only role playing.
- Utilize Web Conferencing for synchronous audio-only role playing.
- Utilize Video Conferencing or Web Conferencing for synchronous audio/video role playing.
Tools for Asynchronous Role Play
- Create asynchronous role play activities by assigning students to roles and having them simulate a situation through using the text, thread, and commenting features of Blogs, Discussion Boards, and Wikis.
- Create asynchronous role play activities by assigning students to roles and having them record and post a simulation as a group, or their individual role to Blogs, Mediasite, Podcasts, Web Pages, or YouTube.
- Instructions for Role Play: A short article including instructions on role play.
- Role Play: How to Teach Using Role-Playing.
- Role Playing in Online Education
- Role Engagement and Anonymity in Synchronous Online Role Play
- Roleplay simulation
For information on tools available to conduct and evaluate synchronous Role Play visit:
For information on tools available to conduct and evaluate asynchronous Role Play visit: