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” (

Below diagram shows the strengths of “Roleplay”,


(Image source:

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. (”

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.

Creative Commons License
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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