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Immersing into Roleplay

What is a role play?

By grammar, the word is a ‘noun’.

“In the PSYCHOLOGICAL TERMS, it may be defined as, the acting out or performance of a particular role, either consciously (as a technique in training) or unconsciously, in accordance with the perceived expectations of society as regards a person’s behavior in a particular context” (Google Search result).

“In simpler terms, Role-playing refers to the changing of one’s behavior to assume a role, either unconsciously to fill a social role, or consciously to act out an adopted role” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Role-playing).

Below diagram shows the strengths of “Roleplay”,

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(Image source: http://roleplayasaninstructionalmethodforadultlearners.weebly.com/key-features-of-role-play.html)

In the design engineering, “role play” indeed plays an important role.

How does it work?

The roleplay builds on the previous knowledge and experience of the performer. It helps a learner or performer to immerse into experiencing a situation from past or to an extent help to be prepared for a future situation.

“Role play is valuable in learning situations where it is not reasonable to practice the required skills directly in the field. For example, role playing a public meeting with irate citizens or a child protection worker removing a child from their home. The main learning goal for a role play is for the student to learn the knowledge and ability required to approach or deal with a specific situation. The learner gains this knowledge and ability by acting out the situation in a controlled environment, and by reflecting on that experience. (http://roleplayasaninstructionalmethodforadultlearners.weebly.com).”

The next topic to cover in the course of Design Engineering is the Empathy Mapping. It needs a background built in the thoughts of a student that what may happen while playing a role of someone. It is a prerequisite to Empathy mapping exercise.

The goal of the Roleplaying exercise is to strengthen the Empathy Mapping.

How to Do?

For students, it is comparatively easy to play a role of someone who, they have seen the most and remained for a larger period of duration in their life. The best roleplay considering gender effects may be a male student playing a role of his father, uncle, brother and so on. For a female student, one may go with playing a role of her mother, sister, auntie and such. Prior playing a role for someone who is purely is to be assumed, one need to check how much good one can perform.

Steps are easy to follow:

  1. Create a situation (assume) and devote some 20 to 30 minutes’ time (solo or in a team, creating a scenario where everyone is someone else) and let your thoughts flow;
  2. Bring in different emotions (one-by-one);
  3. Think of possible reasons working behind such emotions;
  4. Note down your experience (let’s say by the end of each of 3-4 minutes);
  5. Verify it with the person whose role you played.

The last two steps are important.

It will help you,

  • Documenting the thoughts; (the structure of writing language is improved)
  • A quick verification on missing thoughts;

Such verification will increase the insights in playing a role of a near n’ dear one. Of course, prior playing a role of some other user.

Learners may be allowed to play the roles of different persons around them and document each experience and get more of insights in the task.


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Immersing into Roleplay by Bhasker V. Bhatt is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. Created the content as a part of developing Open Educational Resources (OER). It means you are free to use, re-use and distribute the above all for free provided while the usage, proper citation is made. The page is under Creative Commons free culture license.

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Prof. Bhasker Bhatt is a Town Planner and Civil Enginee. He has been very active with design thinking based training program as an expert conducting workshops.He completed his masters in town planning with a research on Road Safety Audit. As far as academics are concerned, he has been excellent and awarded with several Gold Medals during Diploma, Degree and Post Graduate studies. He had provided his services in the field of consultancy at national as well as international level through working with multilateral organisations such as The World Bank and United Nations Development Project-India. Research areas of him include Road Safety, Urban Planning, Infrastructure Planning, Statistical Analysis Techniques, GIS and Climate Change effects in urban areas.He is actively associated with several professional organisations and serving various prestigious posts for better interaction among educational, engineering and planning fraternity. He has more than 6 years’ experience in technical consultancy and about 6 years of engineering teaching. He has guided about 23 PG Dissertations and 10+ UG projects as well as a few AMIE projects. Towards continuous upgradations of skills and technological advancements, he has attempted 50+ events consisting of workshops, training programs, seminars, conventions, and symposiums. He frequently organises events for students and faculty members that ignite active academic upgradations and industrial interaction. He has published more than 56 technical research papers in conferences and journals. Several of his research articles are awarded with Best Paper honor during conferences. Most of all his works are available online for reference along with projects and dissertation reports. He is fascinated to conduct academic and exposure trips for students through putting his network of acquaintances to best of use.Prof. Bhasker is a recipient of “Best Section Management Committee Member of ISTE Gujarat Section 2015”. Also, he was honoured by “Pedagogical Innovation Award 2015” by the GTU for his efforts and contributions in engineering education. At the GTU he was a Master Trainer for Faculty Development Programs conducted at the University wherein he trained more than 350+ teachers of diverse engineering discipline. 1500+ students have attended his sessions on Design Thinking approach that ignites the engineering insights and motivates the engineering brain to increase capabilities, drastically. Recently he has been active with Startup Weekend Surat (powered by Google Inc.) as a trainer. He has developed his own learning portal, www.new.bvbhatt.com for learners - completely free of cost to best serve the purpose of spreading knowledge.

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