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Top Tips on Using Scenarios and Role Play in Training Courses

Libby. December 3, 2019

When the word ‘role-play’ is mentioned in training sessions, it’s normally followed by the look of horror from at least a few of the delegates! But sometimes using scenarios and role-plays is the best way to embed the learning in the courses, plus it brings the topic to life.

If role-play seems like a good option for your training session, firstly, avoid scenario or role play activities too early in a course. The group need to feel comfortable working together and they will feel more inclined to ‘act’ out scenarios if they don’t feel any pressure. You will always find some delegates who are more extroverted and may actively enjoy this type of activity, involve them initially and as other more introverted delegates understand the process, they may feel like getting involved – although they shouldn’t feel too pressured!

Prepare in advance

  • The required number of handouts
  • Use coloured paper or highlighters to show different scenarios
  • Think about delegates beforehand and allocate groups working with their strengths
  • Make your brief clear and in writing
  • Where delegates can be creative or ad lib, explain what this means
  • Ensure everyone knows what is expected
  • Seek verbal feedback and reassurance

Feed back to delegates

  • Ask the participants, in turn, how they feel
  • Recap on what happened (preferably use notes)
  • Give constructive feedback
  • Use the other delegates to feed back

In giving feedback

  • Use a praise ‘sandwich’ to praise what went well, to give feedback on areas of improvement (avoid more than two) and to praise and thank them for taking part
  • Never give feedback you couldn’t take yourself
  • Base all your feedback on factual evidence
  • “When you said….”
  • “How do you feel the member of staff felt when you….”
  • “Why did you do/say that?”

Delegate rules of scenario / practical exercises

  • You are allowed to make mistakes
  • You are allowed to be embarrassed
  • It is not a real work situation – be creative
  • Be as realistic as you can, respond as the character you have been given
  • When being the manager – be yourself
  • Feedback is encouraged from everyone but must be constructive
  • Enjoy it and laugh if you need to

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