A form of experiential learning, where students can take part in different scenarios, assuming different roles and personalities. Roleplays or simulations are good for working as a group, and can also work in an online environment. Students learn through exploring the viewpoints of different characters, and can be involved in self and peer formative assessment.

‘Fishbowl’ roleplay involves other students observing and analysing the behaviour of those acting out roles, and at the end the whole group can discuss the behaviours observed and learning outcomes.

Workload guide

Preparation time Low Student workload Medium Marking time Low

Literacies and skills exhibited

  • One and two-way communication; communication within a group
  • Working independently and working within a group
  • Writing for and presenting to different audiences
  • Creating and performing


  • Write, script and produce audio or video
  • Poster presentation
  • Debate


Assessment can either be of observed behaviour during the roleplay (usually based around a rubric), or of students’ written reflections on their role and decisions taken. There is also potential for peer marking, with students observing each other and marking to a rubric.


For observations, feedback can be built into the roleplay sessions themselves (whilst the activity is fresh in the students’ minds); for written reflections, a different marking criteria might be needed from that of a standard essay.

Case studies

Using role play scenarios for teaching employment law, Newcastle University


Guide to time involved in preparation, marking, and student workload:  Low Low  Medium Medium  High High

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