Take Me Out to the “Role-Play”!

Julee Travis
Posted: August 29, 2014

Want to hit a home run with the next training you design? Consider adding a role-play activity to your game plan! Participants shape up their skills and feel the tension of a real-life situation by assuming specific roles. can drive home learning by giving learners the chance to:

  • Explore a scenario.
  • Apply skills (such as product knowledge, problem resolution and so forth).
  • Experience a situation from another point of view.

Role-play activities typically fall into one of the following categories:

  • Demonstration: A volunteer and the facilitator act out a role-play allowing the rest of the class to observe.
  • Rotation: Participants take a turn playing each role involved in a role-play scenario. For example, one participant plays the role of the manager and another plays the role of the employee for the first round. Then, in the next round, participants switch roles.
  • Multiple: Participants are divided into small groups and perform the role-play simultaneously. This works well with groups of three in which each member takes a turn performing each role in the role-play, as well as the role of the observer. In this case, the role-play would be performed three times, allowing a group member to take a turn playing all the roles.

The role-play activity is the ideal time to get creative when developing your training. At ttcInnovations, we strive to keep creativity forefront when developing learning activities such as role-plays. A brainstorming session at a ttcInnovations Writers’ Retreat resulted in the following out-of-the-box ideas for jazzing up traditional role-play activities:

  • Build in a “lifeline” option for learners to have the ability to reach out to someone for assistance.
  • Use a prop such as a service bell that can be used as a virtual pause button, allowing learners to take time out from the role-play to gather more information or to ask for help.
  • Divide learners into two groups, with each group assigned a role for the role-play. Each group appoints one member to start the role-play, but the member can stop at any time and “tag” another member of his or her team, picking up where he or she left off in the role-play.
  • Divide learners into two groups with each group assigned a role for the role-play. Each group appoints one member to conduct the role-play, but the other members of the group can provide coaching or offer advice during the activity.
  • Shake things up by asking learners to rotate partners during the role-play activity. You could arrange the learners in an inner and outer circle and when the facilitator says “rotate,” the inner circle could rotate one person to the left or the right.

Next time you are creating or planning training, consider adding a role-play activity to help make sure you “hit it out of the park!”

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