This month, Jones & Bartlett Learning author and guest blogger Sharon B. Buchbinder, RN, PhD, explores the importance of using role play as an effective teaching method:
Last month I wrote about the importance of good case studies to engage readers’ higher order thinking skills (HOTS) and that the case study method is an example, par excellence, of problem-based learning (PBL), an educational approach that engages the student and provides opportunities for deeper learning. The purpose of this blog post is to provide an overview of the role play as a useful teaching method to further engage students’ HOTs, the pros and cons of using role play, and to offer some tips on how set the stage for and evaluate role play in your courses.
Why Use Role Play in Health Care Management Education?
As noted in my previous blog on case studies, fiction and well-written case studies engage the reader through a variety of modalities, intellectually and via stimulation of sensory and affective regions of the brain. The only thing missing from a good case study is auditory and kinesthetic learning, which can further engage the student and provide opportunities for metacognitive approaches to learning. This gap can be filled in with role play. Role play, an outgrowth of theater and psychodrama, has been utilized in a diverse array of professions, from psychological counselors and mediators, to lawyers and physicians (Blatner, 2009; Raines, Hedeen, & Barton, 2010). Metacognitive models have "elements of both experience and internal self-talk, or reflection, that occur during the learning process" (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2000, in Buchbinder, Alt, Eskow, Forbes, Hester, Struck, & Taylor, 2005, p. 261). By providing opportunities for students to have in-class and online experience with role play using well-written case studies, instructors can enhance students' metacognitive learning which can be transferred to other situations and settings.