Online role-playing is an e-learning strategy for students to learn and improve a range of skills including problem solving and ethics, as well as interpersonal skills such as communication, negotiating and client counseling. Depending upon the design adopted, online role-plays can allow students to
- participate in complex decision making,
- work in collaborative groups,
- engage in research and
- utilize creativity.
Teachers can design online role-plays to enable students to act and intervene in an online role-play according to the theoretical models and principles they are learning. If asynchronous, the online environment provides students with more leisure to consult relevant theory prior to acting in a role-play. Teachers can moderate student interactions and act to support, mentor and guide learning via online tools.
This learning and teaching strategy has been successfully utilized in politics, economics, psychology, engineering, history and education. At RMIT, a group of teachers have successfully used this approach in the area of negotiation and aligned professional skills.
Online role-playing: Wills and McDougall (2008) identify a key distinguishing feature of online learning through role-plays as the opportunity for ‘students to interact with each other via the computer rather than the traditional simulation in which students interact with a computer model’ (Wills & McDougall, 2008, p 762).
Asynchronous online role-playing is where students role-play online but not in real time. Interaction occurs when students are online. Students have time to think about their strategies and responses and relate them to theories and models.
Blended learning is the use of e-learning with face-to-face teaching.
- Why would I use online role-playing in my subject?
- What are the benefits for students?
- What are the challenges of online role-playing?
- Selected examples
- Designing role-plays online project
- Resources and links
The ideas in this web page have been contributed by Kathy Douglas, Siew Fang Law, Sandra Jones and Belinda Johnson.
The material for this web page was collated by Clare Coburn.
This project has been funded by a Learning and Teaching Investment Fund grant.