Facilitating Role Playing Exercises

Role plays allow trainees to apply new technical knowledge and skills in situations that simulate those they encounter at work, which helps facilitate transfer of learning to the workplace for improved on-the-job performance. Unlike case studies, in which trainees carefully analyze a situation before responding, role plays require trainees to react to situations in the moment when applying technical information and procedures they have learned.

In addition, role plays help facilitate transfer of learning by giving trainees opportunities to:

  • Practice in a safe, non-threatening environment where it is permissible to make mistakes
  • Work in small groups and observe the facilitator or an experienced trainee demonstrate the provider role, which helps trainees to be comfortable trying out new approaches
  • Become confident using job aids and tools to facilitate performance of work tasks
  • Receive targeted feedback and support after each time they role-play a provider; such immediate feedback is crucial for trainees to achieve a high level of proficiency and attain workplace performance expectations

Note: Many learning activities in the modules involve brief role-playing. These instructions apply to activities involving multiple role plays conducted in small groups of three trainees.

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