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5 Reasons NOT to use Fellow Students in Roleplay Simulations



Perhaps you've heard this before: Global spending on training tops $350 billion annually. 

Estimated is that more than 15% of this goes towards 'Soft Skills' development with the vast majority focused on Communication Skills, Coaching, Feedback, Conflict Management and Self Awareness. 

That's A LOT of money spent on trying to improve people's interpersonal skills, leading to a growing demand for a high return on investment. The logical next question is, what training method is most successful when it comes to implementing the newly acquired knowledge into day-to-day workplace interactions? 

Research consistently shows that one of the most effective ways to achieve success and a high return on investment is to simulate a real experience by incorporating Role Play into the training programs. 

Roleplay gives workshop participants those “in-the-moment” experiences and it allows them to experiment with the new behaviours in a safe-to-fail setting. Sadly, many trainers and workshop facilitators still choose to use fellow students for the roleplay simulations instead of working with actors.

So why should you work with a Role Play Actor instead?  

Well, the answer is simple: A Role Play Actor is a professional and a fellow student is not. 

Still not convinced? Here are 5 more reasons why hiring a Role Play Actor is to be preferred over using a fellow-student.

1. A Role Play Actor acts realistically
A Roleplay Actor is able to act out various behaviours convincingly. This is much more difficult for fellow-students to achieve because they are not trained actors and often have a tendency to exaggerate the acting. The role play will therefore often lack authenticity and lead to a less effective learning experience.

2. A Role Play Actor acts interactively
A Role Play Actor always responds to the behaviour of the learner. If the student starts to display ineffective behaviour, the behaviour of the actor will adapt in response to this. As a result, the student experiences the effect of his/her behaviour immediately. Fellow-students are not trained to do this and will tend to maintain their own role and become more rigid in executing it.

3. A Role Play Actor adjusts to the student
The Role Play Actor can adapt the acting to the required level of difficulty for the student. Fellow-students are more likely to play behaviour that is appropriate for themselves rather than tuning into the person for whom the practice situation is intended.

4. A Role Play actor is able to provide feedback after the role play
A professional roleplayer is a multitasker. While acting out the role-play and adjusting the level of difficulty to the student, the actor also observes, as it were, with a helicopter view, so that good feedback can be provided once the role-play has ended. An actor is able to explain clearly why a certain response was made in a particular way in certain situations. Fellow-students, however, can get so caught up in their own acting that they can no longer maintain their helicopter view or give valuable feedback afterwards.

5. A Role Play actor is familiar with various training methodologies
The actor knows precisely what the learning objectives of the training are. As a result, the actor can very consciously reward the desired behaviour during the role-play situation, while also relate the feedback to the learning outcomes of the training. Fellow-students will be less capable of achieving this.

In other words, with a Role Play Actor, you have access to a true professional for your training or workshop who is able to produce maximum results from any role-play situation. 

Want to learn more? Meet some of our actors here or check out our website

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