Learning Through Play

The dreaded ‘role play’ (or skills development as we like to call it!). Is it as bad as we think? Well actually no! 

Role play is a really effective learning tool as it increases learning retention, it provides hands on training in a ‘real life’ scenario, it has us thinking on our feet, working together as a team and can increase communication and understanding. It also allows us to make mistakes and learn new strategies and ways of working in a safe and controlled environment.

Learning through play puts staff directly into situations that they will face in the real world. The training becomes hands on and encourages the application of knowledge, rather than staff listening to someone talking and reading handouts. It can be anything from communication through to clinical skills or problem solving techniques.

Role play exercises can also help to develop conflict resolution, team building and trust. When people are involved in or observing role play activities it allows them to brain storm ideas, share skills and problem solve together.

When employees are put in the situation of their ‘clients’ it gives them the opportunity to see the situation from the ‘clients’ perspective, which can increase empathy and tolerance. The facilitator can also present situations from a variety of different perspectives; the clients, co-worker, caregiver etc… so different solutions and experiences can be shared and discussed.

Learning through play can also increase confidence. When a person has already been through/managed a situation (the role play), they can act more confidently in a real life situation as they will be more emotionally prepared for challenging situations.

Top tips for learning through play:

• Use everyday examples and situations

• Summarise the situation and clarify the objective – everyone needs to be clear on what is expected

• Try to encourage people to volunteer so they feel comfortable taking part

• Make it exciting and fun and facilitate it effectively

• Praise the group and have a debrief afterwards. Make sure you talk and reflect.

My passion is for learning, any age, anywhere, anytime. That is why I offer Interactive E-learning, Face to Face training, Microsoft Teams/Zoom training and consultancy services. Learning should be easy to organise, and more importantly fun!

The world is moving so fast these days, especially where technology is concerned, everything is mobile, what would we do without our mobile phones and tablets? Learning takes place every day, whether it’s from an article we read, an app we download or a conversation we have going about our everyday lives. We are always learning and developing.

Author: Maxine Clark

Visit Maxine on LinkedIn