Role - Play method: An innovative training technique


Ms. Vijit Chaturvedi
Faculty (HRM)
Icfai National College

Training and development have become the soul of every organization .The topics like Knowledge management, talent development and managing the intellectual capital has become the biggest challenge for organization in order to retain Human capital thus increasing stability.

Today's workforce and employees as individual emphasize not only Money or attractive pay packages but give an equal weightage to work environment, organization structure, job autonomy, ethics and above all the career path .The success and future thus lies on Development aspect with which every organization associates itself and design such policies and practices such measures so as to extend maximum exposure, learning and on going skill enhancement environment.

Since the middle level management comprise of the second largest manpower after the blue collared employees at the lower level who are more involved in doing repetitive nature of task. The managers including line and staff are the real implementations of the policy and strategy formulated by the top level 

Thus it becomes imperative that it becomes the prime responsibility of top management and the HR department to look after the needs of training so as to make the job more effective, innovative and thus making the employee multi- task oriented.

Defining Role play as a training technique

Role play can be defined as a technique in which people are presented wit a real or artificial environment and they are exposed with some find of case or situation and they need to exhibit the same in form of roles.

It is a spontaneous human interaction involving realistic human behavior under artificial or stimulated environment .It consists of interviews or series of interview in which the participants or the trainees are provided with a role brief and a s et of circumstances which they need to enact.

The trainee develops a strategy to how should he react or think in a particular situation and possible suggestive solutions for resolving the problem or analyzing the situation .He also learns and forecasts what the other party or as per the case may be what can be the other reaction. This technique thus not only leads to self learning about expected job outcome or to create a fit in the job but also helps in understanding others perception about the task or issue.

Objectives of Role play as a training technique-

1) It helps in developing a better understanding of the job

2) It helps in understanding how to handle a particular situation.

3) It helps in developing better understanding of the issue an better decision making

4) It helps in anticipating reaction of other party

5) It helps in developing communication, management development and leadership quality.

6) It helps in improvement of interpersonal relationship 

7) It helps in providing an insight to understanding behavioral patterns of others.

Salient Features of Role play as a training method for learning

a) Learning by doing- Since in this the participant plays role as per the given circumstances   he learns practically and understands the demand or requirement of skill set to resolve or get the task done.

b) Learning through imitation – while playing the new or the expected role the participant gets the feelings about the other persona and tries his best to include and accrue all traits of the given role. Thus he gets an opportunity to understand, analyze and reflect the other person perception and behavior.

c) Learning through observation and feedback – This method helps in dual learning .The trainee not only learns and reinforces the concepts by self learning but also develops an understanding about a new role. This approach helps in building good decision making ability, management capacity and leadership overall.

d) Learning though analysis and conceptualization – The role played by the trainee helps in analyzing the various skills involve din he role right from domain, conceptual, design or human skills and thus helps in designing a broader understanding and clear outlook towards task.

Reasons and areas for  selecting role play as training technique –

The trainer or the facilitator should be very logical and clear about the purpose of using this as a training technique .The success of role play depends on the role brief, set circumstances and the utility expected from he technique.

The areas where the trainer and get the trainees benefited with this method includes –

* To practice behavior   where new role needs to be assigned to individual or as on anticipated problem situation.

* To analyze the problem situation and develop approach and technique to resolve it

* To learn insight into motivation and roles of others

* To develop new skills and insight on resolving problems

* To develop a holistic understanding of the job for present as well as future.

Benefits or outcome of role play as a training technique

a) It helps in both cognitive and effective development of trainees and better learning by doing.

b) It permits practice by repetition and helps in better reinforcement

c) It also helps in improving human relation since it helps I developing empathy

d) It helps in making people sensitive towards others

e) It helps in better SWOT analysis of individuals and thus the feedback given helps in identifying and overcoming the deficiencies.

f) It enables the role player to control his behavior and enact as if he is enacting in a real life situation

g) It helps in bringing attitudinal changes in the employees as trainees

h) It is a more practical approach than other technique since in this the learning by doing and feedback that whether a behavior reflected is acceptable or requires change can be given.

Essentials to be considered before selecting role play as a training technique

It is the responsibility of the trainer to identify the objective, need, experience of trainee, the issue or task for which this method is selected. The focus should be on maximum involvement of individuals as participants so that an overall exposure and understanding of attitude, skills, knowledge, behavior, expectation, need for improvement, emotional stability and required competencies can be identified.

Other important factor that determines the success of training method is the feedback provided by the trainer from time to time to the learner or the trainee so that he can inculcate the required knowledge and skills   on continuous basis.

Apart from this it is also important to see for what purpose and objective is the method used for e.g. for which level of employees as trainees the method is chosen and also for what skills whether analytical, domain, conceptual, leadership, human relation development or as per job demand skills need to be inculcated.

Thus, it can be concluded that   role play as a training technique serves as a multi –skill developing weapon where the trainee not only develops a broader perspective about the task or new role but also the horizon of understanding others behavior resulting into empathy, team work, better communication, interpersonal skills and management development takes place.

Such methods helps in developing both cognitive and affective component of perception and helps in knowing how people behave and why people behave in different ways. Role play as a training technique focuses on emotional, behavioral and perceptual basis for development.

Ms. Vijit Chaturvedi
Faculty (HRM)
Icfai National College

Source: E-mail August 29, 2008


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