Role Play

Last Updated: March 13th, 2018

Tool Types:


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

Critical Thinking

  • 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.

Distance Education

  • 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.


Getting Started

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

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 BlogsMediasite, Podcasts, Web Pages, or YouTube.

Additional Resources

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:

Accessibility Statement

Keep accessibility in mind as you develop course content and build assignments and assessments. Many online tools are not fully accessible, so it’s important to think about how you will make the assignment accessible if requested. The Disability Resource Center and the UF Accessibility page will guide you in making appropriate accommodations. You can also find out more about accessibility at our toolbox page on Accessibility in the Online Classroom.

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