Using Role Play for Cost Effective Training Solutions

Elearning presents a variety of ways to deliver new knowledge. Through videos, audio, animation, and text, information are disseminated in more and more engaging ways through the use of new media. Simulations or role playing is a conventional technique used by educators to illustrate and apply theoretical knowledge in proper context. But as a cost effective training solution, role playing plays a vital role.

Role playing not only benefits learners through application of concepts into practical examples; it also promotes effective communication skills and social skills through collaborative efforts of their peers. In class, students are grouped and sometimes asked to perform plays or act short scenes. It is an effective way to reinforce what was learned and make retention much higher.

Where do educators and trainers use role playing?
While in school, teachers use role playing for students studying history, literature, and other academic knowledge, in the world of corporate training, role playing is a useful tool for team building, employee’s job training, and virtually every kind of human resource development.

In elearning, role play can take place in a virtual environment with or without interaction with other learners. In a game-based learning model, the computer itself can be built to automatically but intelligently respond to reactions of the user or learner. In a synchronous elearning set up, the interaction is more collaborative with two or more peers joining in the role play.

One good example of role playing in a corporate training set up is the training of customer service representatives in call centers. Now, call center representatives are usually so stressed because they get barraged by calls from irate customers about defective products, complaints about service, and all kinds of grievances. In training, they are given scenarios in which actors reenact the proper and the improper way of handling irate callers. Trainees can then identify and emulate the correct and proper reaction in this scenario. Because trainees are placed in a situation they would likely encounter, they would know exactly how to respond because they’ve experienced it.

How can developers and trainers use role playing as a feature on their cost effective training solutions programs?

Set objectives
Setting a goal is always the important first step. The skills and knowledge that has to be learned should be laid out for the trainee to see.

Develop scenarios
In developing scenarios, company trainers can take a look at the work environment of the employees and see possible work challenges in the past that could occur in the future. How did they resolve conflict? Or if they didn’t what should have been done? In your scenarios, create a right and wrong way that would illustrate the concept for both sides so that trainees would know what to expect, both negative and positive, in case the scenario actually happens in real life. Let the trainees perform the scenes themselves to create a collaborative atmosphere that also helps in the retention.

Evaluate
Assess how the trainee performed in the scenario. It’s good to give constructive criticisms that would help the trainee in the long run.  

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BOLA TANGKAS