Role-playing is useful in initial training or awareness raising sessions, as well as in follow-up and ongoing training programs. It should be used in the training of facilitators, community advocates, heads of programs, managers, planners and head office staff, etc.
In a single training session or workshop, the training team may wish to set up more than one role-play. If so, it is advisable to change scenarios and use a different structure (e. g. whether or not written instructions are handed out; whether or not the participants are given time to prepare their plot; whether or not the role-play involves all or some of the participants).
In both the set up and the discussion stages of the role-play, the facilitator should encourage humor. Remember that a 'play' by definition is not reality, and should not be taken completely seriously. Humor can defuse the tension in a role-play situation, and it allows participants to take a more practical approach to analyzing the potential 'real life' situations they might experience later.
Adapted from Role Playing and Simulation Games: A Training Technique, by Phil Bartle, PhD.
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