- DAVID KUEHLEIN
Tell me and I'll listen. Show me and I'll
understand. Involve me and I'll learn.
– Chinese proverb
WHAT IS ROLE PLAY?
“a method in which key ideas and skills are
illustrated or practiced by learners assuming
roles and contexts in which the ideas and skills
would typically be applied”
(Reigeluth and Keller, 2009, p.37)
students participate in a hypothetical
situation, take on a different role and look at a
situation from different perspectives
tasks can include:
- practicing a dialogue
- performing a skit
- being given a position to defend in a debate
- actively participating in their learning
- making meaningful connections to real world
- practicing real-life scenarios in a safe
- building confidence through peer feedback
and improving themselves before applying
their learning to the real world
- learning to appreciate one another’s differences
through asking questions and taking on a role
other than theirs to understand a concept or
situation and looking at it through a different
Cognitive Domain (mental skills & knowledge):
Role playing allows learners to recall material learned
in the classroom and reflect on this new information
and build on existing knowledge.
Psychomotor Domain (manual & physical):
Role playing can help learners improve their physical
skills and techniques of an activity through practice
and getting comfortable with the activity being
Affective Domain (feelings, emotions & attitudes):
Role playing allows learners to explore and
understand an activity and concept through
examining it from different points of view.
THEORY BASED ON:
“Learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through
the transformation of experience”
Role playing activities emphasize the
importance of the learners’ experience and
involvement in the learning environment, and
they acquire new concepts and reinforce
THEORY BASED ON: (CONT’D)
“Give the pupils something to do, not something to learn; and the
doing is of such a nature as to demand thinking; learning
Role play activities help students gain practical
experience and retain new information more
effectively through hands-on activities.
1. The learning outcome of the role playing activity
must be made clear.
2. The roles and responsibilities of the learners must
also be outlined clearly.
3. The rules and expectations of the class must be
reviewed to prevent any possible conflicts.
4. Immediate feedback must be given to students so
that they can correct any behaviours or
5. A debriefing session must be held after the activity
to consolidate ideas on what was learned.
CRITERIA FOR SUCCESSFUL
The expectations and instructions must be made
clear to avoid confusion.
There must be an open and comfortable learning
community so students do not feel embarrassed
and uncomfortable in front of one another.
Constructive feedback must be encouraged and
Some students may not feel comfortable
engaging in the activity
Role play will not be effective in large groups as it
might be challenging for the facilitator to
thoroughly monitor and provide feedback to
The activities can take a long time to set up and
There might not be enough time to thoroughly
practice and learn from the activity
The instructions might be too lengthy, making the
activity complex and difficult to adapt to
ADULT LEARNING CONTEXT
- provides the learner an opportunity to simulate
a real life scenario in the classroom
- encourages empathy among the learners and
helps them look at situations from different
- allows students to discuss personal experiences
and learn from one another
RESOURCES & REFERENCES
1. Brookfield, S. D., &Preskill, S. (2005). Discussion as a way of teaching.
San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.
2. How to Use Role Play in Teaching and Training
3. Instructional Strategies
4. Reigeluth, C. M. & Carr-Chellman, A.A (2009). Instructional-design theories
and models: Building a common knowledge base (Volume 3). New
York, NY: Routledge.