Role playing

May 10, 2024

Role Playing in E-learning Training

Teaching with motivation, learning through play

The objective of all training actions is to ensure that the student incorporates new knowledge that **allows them to develop skills and competencies** related to the subjects they are studying. The success of this process always depends on the quality and clarity of the content, the choice and definition by experts of a good strategy and techniques to transmit them, and the interest and involvement of the student. Without all of this, the success of the process is impossible.

Despite traditional education always seeking resources to motivate and engage, the reality is that **the strategy of a large part of educational programs**, based on the use of traditional techniques such as data exposure and explanations provided by teachers, with consultation and reading of complementary references, followed by the typical test/exam to certify knowledge acquisition, **is not always sufficient to motivate and retain certain students**.

That is why, in these cases, from the strategy aimed at achieving an optimal teaching objective, following a predetermined course of action, it is necessary to analyze what other techniques, as a set of procedures, actions, and rules to perform specific tasks, can help us improve our objective.

Among the different proposals of current educational theories, we will talk in this case about role-playing: a group dynamic that, combining the simulation strategy and the role-playing technique, invites the participant to assume, based on predefined guidelines, a behavior profile that is not usually theirs, with the aim of discovering what attitudes and reactions they take in a given situation and their influence on its development and outcome.

A solution that, in our online training space, with the support of the resources offered by the **LMS platform** and the essential dynamic support of the expert group tutor, will facilitate the student, through the pleasure of the ludic challenge, to develop a positive and motivating attitude towards learning.

Niña jugando

Different people, different realities

There are countless situations in professional activity where knowing how to handle different points of view is extraordinarily advantageous for solving critical situations with ease, where mastery of social skills and interpersonal relationships is crucial and essential.

We are talking, for example, about commercial management, team leadership, customer service, services to people, etc. Activities that involve understanding and appreciating not only our own perspective but also that of the people we interact with.

In these cases, the use of role playing is very effective for simulating situations, learning to face them, and finding solutions. A space where the student can get involved and, by comparing and analyzing the roles played by both themselves and their peers, acquire the knowledge needed to improve their skills.

It is important to note that, for the proper functioning of this technique, it is important to know and analyze the participants' profiles beforehand, so that the expert facilitator can tailor the tone and guidelines for the different roles in the staging of the activity.

On the other hand, we must also consider that in many companies and organizations, it is easy to find representatives of different generations among their members – we are talking about baby boomers, Generation X, millennials, and centennials – and, increasingly, from multiple backgrounds and different cultural realities. This leads to individuals of different ages, origins, and customs sharing the same educational space within these continuous training programs. This makes it really difficult to choose a single discourse and strategy model that equally engages such a diverse audience.

In such an environment, individualism can easily arise. Each person may entrench themselves in their corner and seek to prioritize their opinion over others. This attitude leads to the disappearance of dialogue among participants, consequently losing that crucial educational component which is student motivation.

However, the great advantage of the role playing technique in this regard is that it provides something extremely valuable: it forces participants to interact with each other. This prevents isolation and offers each and every one the opportunity to put themselves in others' shoes, observing and addressing situations and perspectives to which they are not normally exposed.

Personas trabajando

Simulation and Online Learning

The use of role playing, also known as role-playing or dramatization, has been and continues to be very common in face-to-face coaching sessions, led by expert instructors, for simulating conflicts in work environments. But the incorporation of this technique in e-learning formats takes on its own characteristics.

Using digital tools, such as video conferencing rooms, chats, or discussion forums, role playing opens up collaborative work dynamics in this new teaching space, an online environment that has sometimes been mistakenly linked solely to individual and solitary learning.

To better understand the dynamics of this simulation technique, let's look at three examples of possible role-playing activities within the framework of an online course:

  1. Criticize a behavior
    In a video conference, starting from a certain situation, one of the participants displays inappropriate behavior. The rest react to his attitude, criticize it, and highlight the mistakes made through the chat.
  2. Resolve a mystery
    We present a situation in which an event has occurred that involves an unresolved mystery. We describe the setting and the characters involved. Next, each participant is assigned a role. With the information they have, they all try to solve the mystery. The results are published on the forum. Then, each person comments on and evaluates the proposals of others.
  3. A work meeting
    Previously, we defined a project and assigned roles to the participants: an account manager, team leader, different specialists, etc. Next, we organized an online work meeting. We provided an agenda and set a time limit. From this point on, and through the chat, everyone from their role takes on commitments and proposes solutions. The goal: to close the agenda including the specific task that each one will have to carry out next.

And this is just a small note of the many plots we can create. The role playing is a technique that seeks, fundamentally, to activate the student's imagination, help them face conflicts in a transversal way, and teach them to compare and correct errors. From here, let's let our imagination fly.

Obviously, students will be able to consult and compare the correct keys and answers at a theoretical level in the course content published on the LMS platform. But we are talking about a simulation strategy that puts a theoretical situation into practice, aiming to recreate it and derive a personal experience from it.

Finally, it should be emphasized that the role of the expert teacher is essential when organizing the activity, energizing it, and providing good feedback to the participants, which will always close the activity. In addition, since it is online training, choosing a creative and active use of digital communication tools will be a fundamental value to achieve continuity and satisfactory group participation.


In summary, role playing will allow our students to form opinions, understand how to reach results through reflection, and not rely solely on memorizing data for solutions and answers. An excellent tool that will help them practice and develop the agility necessary for making correct decisions in critical situations.

So, if you find that in your continuing education courses you need to address these improvements, remember these four key points of role playing:

  • In any training process, the fundamental challenge is to engage the student in the construction of their own learning.
  • Choosing the right tone and exploring new motivational techniques is essential and decisive for the success of your training programs.
  • Role playing is a tremendously effective resource in training actions that involve learning social skills and interpersonal relationships.
  • “Tell me and I forget, teach me and I remember, involve me and I learn”. This quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin perfectly captures the essence of role playing. We may forget many things, but we always remember what we have experienced.

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