Table of Contents

Training Tips: Effective Role Play

What better way to make your audience squirm and moan than by announcing that your next activity will be a role play?

While role playing can be an essential element to skill building and providing meaningful feedback to training participants, too many role playing activities are poorly designed, ambiguous, and can go on forever and/or end too easily and too happily.

The biggest weakness I’ve observed in the design of role playing activities is that only one person is generally given instructions (because that is the person being observed) – everyone else is expected to simply go with the flow.  My favorite way to design a role play is to provide everyone in the scenario with a specific set of instructions so that the scenario remains focused and isn’t too easy to resolve.

For example, if the purpose of a role playing scenario is to demonstrate effective feedback-giving skills, I might provide the person who is supposed to provide feedback with an observation form (click here for a sample observation form) along with instructions to provide feedback to a person who isn’t quite ready to facilitate a lesson in front of a group.

At the same time, I’d provide a separate set of instructions to the person receiving feedback.  These instructions could simply be a list of bulleted points, but at least this person would have a better feel for the role she should play and the type of resistance she should offer during the role play.  Her instructions may look like this:

You are about to receive feedback about whether or not you will be deemed qualified and proficient in providing facilitation services to groups at your organization.  Keep the following points in mind as you receive feedback:

  • You may wish to ask your evaluator his/her qualifications to “deem” anyone qualified and proficient
  • Pay close attention to what the evaluator is telling you – nodding at any feedback that is affirming and shaking      your head in disagreement at any feedback that may seem critical, but do not say anything to the evaluator unless you are asked to speak.
  • If you are deemed qualified and proficient, you will be in the position for a promotion and a raise
  • If you are not deemed qualified and proficient, you may be stuck in your current role and routine, which you’ve been doing for the past 7 years… and you will do anything (within reason) to move away from your current role!

While role plays should not be scripted verbatim, providing additional structure and information for everyone involved can help make the situation more real, thus creating a more effective learning experience.

The Train Like A Champion blog is published on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  These brief “Training Tip” posts are a series of quick reference tips that are published while your beloved Train Like A Champion blogger is currently enjoying a little vacation.  The more in-depth posts will resume again later in August.

Articles Similar to Training Tips: Effective Role Play

instructor becomes the pupil with kassy laborie and zovig garboushian
Brian Washburn

Turning the Tables: From Trainer to Student

As people who have designed and delivered effective training, Kassy Laborie and Zovig Garboushian know a thing or two about good learning experiences. So what nuggets have they gleaned from a 9-month course that they’re both attending, and that all of us should consider when designing our own programs? Today’s podcast answers that question.

airline flying through a sky with palm trees
Job Aids
Brian Washburn

3 Job Aid Design Lessons from a Beach in Hawaii

An effective job aid might be able to replace the need for actually training someone. At the very least, it can be distributed as part of a training to help people remember a rule or how to do something new. Drawing inspiration from “job aids” we see every day when we walk around can make our job designing effective job aids easier.

Better PowerPoint
Erin Clarke

Creating Better PowerPoint Slide Decks, Faster

PowerPoint can be a very powerful visual aid and important tool for training… if it’s done well. Creating a better PowerPoint Slide Deck is about organizing your thoughts before you even open PowerPoint on your computer.

Subscribe to Get Updates from Endurance Learning

Brian Washburn, Author

Brian Washburn
CEO & Chief Ideas Guy

Enter your information below and we’ll send you the latest updates from our blog. Thanks for following!

activities cookbook

Download the Training Activity Cookbook

Enter your email below and we’ll send you the PDF of the Endurance Learning Activity Cookbook.

training facilitator evaluation rubric - page 2

Download the Facilitator Evaluation Rubric

Enter your email below and we’ll send you the PDF of the rubric to help you assess the skills of someone delivering training.

Download the What's Possible in L&D Worksheet

Enter your email below and we’ll send you the PDF of the What’s Possible in L&D Worksheet.

What's possible in L&D

Let's Talk Training!

Brian Washburn

Brian Washburn
CEO & Chief Ideas Guy

Enter your information below and we’ll get back to you soon.

Download the Feedback Lesson Plan

Enter your email below and we’ll send you the lesson plan as a PDF.

feedback lesson plan
MS Word Job Aid Template

Download the Microsoft Word Job Aid Template

Enter your email below and we’ll send you the Word version of this template.

Download the Free Lesson Plan Template!

Enter your email below and we’ll send you a Word document that you can start using today!

free lesson plan template
training materials checklist

Download the Training Materials Checklist

Enter your email below and we’ll send you the PDF of the Training Materials Checklist.

Subscribe to Endurance Learning for updates

Get regular updates from the Endurance Learning team.