Assessing with Role Play and Simulation


Role play and simulations are forms of experiential learning (Russell & Shepherd, 2010). Learners take on different roles, assuming a profile of a character or personality, and interact and participate in diverse and complex learning settings.

The terms "role play" and "simulation" are sometimes used inconsistently or interchangeably. However, "simulations" often involve a familiar or realistic situation in which a participant’s role may not be as prominent or distinctive as it would be in a role play.  Frequently simulations incorporate role play, leading to the term "role-playing simulation". The difference is generally one of degree rather than kind.

Role plays and simulations function as learning tools for teams and groups or individuals as they "play" online or face to face.  They alter the power ratios in teaching and learning relationships between students and educators, as students learn through their explorations and the viewpoints of the character or personality they are articulating in the environment. This student-centered space can enable learner-oriented assessment, where the design of the task is created for active student learning. Students are actively involved in both self and peer assessment and obtain sustainable formative feedback.

Video Series - Using Role Plays in Formative Assessment - Ben Barry & Gail Trapp


Additional information