Welcome to this blog about Experiential Learning.
At InterACT we are truly passionate about helping people interact better. We believe great interpersonal skills are key to success in business, in our personal lives and in our social relations. By using the power of role play simulations and theater we deliver impact full learning experiences that will help people InterACT even more successfully.
More info on www.interactwa.com.au
Role-plays are a great way of practicing new skills.
But often workshop participants complain that they don't enjoy the role-play simulations because they don't feel real, making them ultimately learn less.
Fortunately, as a trainer/facilitator there
is a lot you can do to make role-playing real. Starting with these 6 ways to make Role Plays REAL:
1. Work with real situations
Role play becomes more real when participants can use
their own experiences. I love to work with situations that the participants come up with themselves. Reason being that if someone suffers from the miscommunication with
a colleague at work, role-playing that exact situation will feel a lot more real than a standardized
2. Have the Participant choose his opponent
Let the participant always choose an 'opponent' himself. I promise you he
will automatically choose someone who looks like the person he finds it difficult
to deal with in real life. By doing that chances are also that the role play will become more realistic. I often see facilitators choose the opponent themselves or ask
the group who want to play the opposite role. Don’t do it! It will take away
from the learning experience from the participant.
3. Set the situation as it is
When the participant and the opponent are known, you set the
situation as it really is. Are they standing, are they sitting? Is there normally a table, then put it there. If they talk to each other over
the telephone, let them sit with their backs together and get some phones. These little things will
add to the reality of the role play.
4. Name the opponent by his 'game name'
Call the participant by his own name, but name the opponent
by the name of the person he plays. Use that name in the time-out. For example:
"What do you see the effect was on Trudy?" This makes the situation
5. Correct smiling observants
Sometimes observers laugh. That is OK if something happens
that is really funny. But sometimes they also start laughing, because the participant
in the role play tries something new that might look out-of-character. It can take
the participant out of their learning experience so stay serious and say
something like "Everyone, please keep the focus." Or to the
participant: “You are doing great. Keep trying”
6. Recognize that it is not real
After all of this the participant might still say that the role
play exercise did not feel real. In such a case just acknowledge their feelings. "No,
of course it is not real." Afterwards, you ask whether the participant is
curious about the feedback:" Do you want to hear what the group thought?" Or,"Shall we see how the opponent has experienced it?“ Acknowledging
that it is not real will increase the chance that the participant wants to
hear the feedback anyway.