Liqvid Digital Spoken English Lab

“Role” of Role Plays in eLearning for Better Retention and Performance


Remember those childhood days spent enacting scenarios for the doctor, nurse, even chefs? The sense of pride we all felt while asking for money from our peers as a bus conductor or catching a “thief” as a police officer.

Role plays have been an integral part of our lives and as kids, we all learned a great deal from them. It enabled us to step in the shoes of others and understand their roles. Over the years, they also became an effective way of delivering training. Today, the entire eLearning industry thrives on role plays.

What are role plays in a learning scenario?

Role-playing as a pedagogical tool has been used in various fields, from medicine to law, and from business to psychology. Though role play has traditionally been used in educational settings with an emphasis on the social dynamic of learning and fostering collaboration among students, researchers have found role plays to be useful in getting students to better grasp practical cognitive skills.

Learning can be hard. And what can be a better example to explain the concept than the famous Ebbinghaus forgetting curve. Coined by the German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus in the late 19th century, it demonstrated the rate at which information is forgotten over time if we don’t attempt to retain it. A few studies conducted on Ebbinghaus’ theory further suggest that humans forget approximately 50% of new information within an hour of learning it, which goes up to an average of 70% within 24 hours.

Role plays as part of gamification have emerged as one of the best options to beat the forgetting curve. All that is needed is to take the mechanics of games and apply them to eLearning, which can then be used to motivate learners to complete the required learning. And, because it’s interactive and gets the learners engaged, knowledge retention is more likely.

Here are some benefits of role-playing in education and business:

  • Motivates and engages learners
  • Enhances learner retention, and in turn, performance
  • Enhances current instructional strategies and approaches
  • Provides real-world scenarios to help the learners
  • Learn real-world skills, such as negotiation, debate, collaboration, persuasion
  • Provides opportunities for critical observation of peers

When should you use role plays?

Role plays are an effective method of training for better retention and performance in learners. But should you use them every time? Not necessarily. Only a few situations warrant the use:

1. You want learners to step into someone’s shoes and view events from others perspective. For instance, making an employee think like a customer or a senior manager think like a fresher.

2. You want learners to learn and experience something which is often either not possible in a physical set up or uncomfortable to talk about. For example, letting a man experience sexual harassment as a woman.

3. You want to demonstrate the various stages of a project, from inception to launch.

4. You want to teach effective interpersonal skills.

There are several examples in real-life where companies and universities are using role plays to deliver effective eLearning. For instance,

British company HostileWorld has a flagship course called Hostile Environment Awareness Training, or HEAT, which supports a variety of sectors that deploy personnel, or work with local agents, in hostile or insecure environments. The course introduces learners to strategies for staying safe and uses role play to help learners practice behaviors, protocols, and security challenges.

The University of London recently used online role-play as part of their midwifery course to help learners get a clear understanding of the ethics through an interactive, simulated course. The role plays were designed to blend with face-to-face teaching and allowed learners to make autonomous clinical decisions as a midwife and understand what it is like in their shoes.

At Cornell University, an instructor employs virtual role-playing assignments as a learning exercise for learners, where students are broken into small groups and assigned topics to explore. There is a group discussion board labeled, “Backstage Rehearsal Area.” Over a period of four to five days, each of the performing students posts several comments per day in interaction with their fellow cast members, which is then analyzed. Many students have commented that immersion in the topic, established through role-playing, provides insight into real issues that they have faced and allows them to work through these issues in a meaningful way.

How to use role plays effectively for better retention and performance?

Meaningful role plays outside of formal training and education programs can help learners retain the subject matter better and perform better. You can enhance the effectiveness of your role plays up by several notches by considering these factors.

Capture the essence of conversations: When creating an online role play or converting a face-to-face role play exercise into an online version, you must stay focused on the desired outcome and not on the details of the conversation. Also, you need to carve out time for how conversations should branch. Writing the conversation answers and branches can be really time-consuming.

The customer or the learner isn’t always right: Feedback is an integral part of any program. But just because you got one or two negative feedbacks doesn’t mean the design itself is wrong. You must consider whether the design has reinforced your learning outcomes. In fact, purposefully designed difficult scenarios lead to better learning outcomes. Learners shouldn’t get it in the first try; they must struggle so they interact with a lot of characters and take a deep dive to understand the product or the role better.

Incorporate feedback: Including feedback in an online role play simulation can be a bit tricky but you need to add it so learners can learn effectively. So, deciding who gives the feedback and when it should be provided to the learner are crucial decisions. Ask yourself what role does feedback play in a learning process, when it should be given, and who should give it (single character or multiple characters).

Role plays in eLearning or online education

Role plays encourage learners to think more critically about complex subjects and to see situations from a different perspective. Done right, role plays can motivate students in a fun and engaging way. But for that to happen, role plays should be content-focused, match learning objectives, and be relevant to real-world situations.

A reliable and experienced eLearning partner can help you create immersive role play experiences for your learners. We have created communication skills and interview preparation skills modules using the role-playing technique in our English Language Training (ELT) solution. The learner goes through scenarios and records videos of self to play the role, practice, get feedback, and perfect skills.

We work through a compelling storytelling technique and use several motion graphics and talking head videos to make your role plays effective and boost engagement and performance. Our experience in creating digital learning content and partnership model for eLearning content development for the EdTech industry uniquely positions us to develop role play-based learning effectively. Talk to us!

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Deliver Personalized Learning Experience with Artificial Intelligence


It’s a boom time for personalized learning, which is driven largely by on-job skill development programs featuring real-time competency analysis and online courses. From students to corporate professionals, most of them favor personalized learning. Per an Industry ARC report, the global personalized learning market is estimated to surpass $2 billion by 2024, growing at an estimated rate of around 29% from 2018 to 2024. And artificial intelligence (AI) is a great enabler to this.

What is personalized learning?

Personalized learning is a teaching approach in which the pace of learning and the learning instructions are optimized for each learner. It leverages AI and machine learning to offer interactive content to the learners with real-time performance analysis. This results in modifications to course content and timelines for efficient learning.

Personalized learning challenges traditional teaching practices by implementing a model where learning by doing takes place. The learning progresses at the rate of learners’ learning ability. As a result, it’s beneficial for corporate learning to upskill resources efficiently and for students to enhance their job readiness.

Why is personalized learning so critical today?

Think about how we now shop or watch TV online; it’s all personalized content. It’s only a matter of time before the same principles can be translated into the learning space. Today’s learning institutes face a wide range of challenges – disengaged students, high dropout rates, and the ineffectiveness of a traditional “one-size-fits-all” approach to education. This is a major topic of conversation with constantly evolving technologies and the need to upskill employees even in the enterprise learning space.

AI, when used right, can create effective personalized learning experiences which can help resolve most of these challenges. Let’s see how.

1. Boosts Engagement

AI can predict outcomes, allowing learning providers to offer content specific to a learner’s past performance and individual goals. For example, if there are skill gaps observed when a learner is taking a course, the algorithms can send targeted recommendations to help them build on their knowledge.

2. Real-time information and feedback

With AI, learners get all the information related to online resources needed to fill gaps and feedback in real-time, which equates to less seat time and training payroll hours. Learners get the information they need quickly. Even the L&D admins and support staff spend less time analyzing metrics and reports and can instead focus on producing effective learning content.

3. Automate content scheduling and delivery

AI is designed to handle routine tasks so humans can focus on other priority tasks and look at the big picture. With AI, the learning platform itself can schedule coursework for the learners or deliver resources based on individual learner assessment results or simulations. This can help the learning providers to automatically predict course maps for each of their learners and readjust as needed.

4. Boost ROI

It’s a given – AI helps the learning providers boost their ROI. And why not? After all, less time spent in training combined with personalization results in better learning outcomes. AI-equipped learning platforms can track and forecast every move of each of the learners, allowing learning providers to launch online learning resources wherever and whenever needed.

5. Innovative learning strategies

AI combines data collection and machine learning to bring automated and personalized learning strategies to life. Here’s how:

i) It identifies skills gaps and suggests the best ways to close them.

ii) It helps providers collect better and more accurate data on how learning materials are impacting individual and business performance.

iii) It proactively supports learners by deploying virtual coaches for a proactive response to personalized learning and development.

iv) It can collect and interpret a vast amount of data, enabling learning providers to easily gather key insights.

Is AI the future of personalized learning?

Research is still ongoing; however, most of the data points to AI being touted as the future of personalized learning. Personalized learning involves giving learners control to choose their learning styles and access learning resources at their pace and convenience. So, essentially, through AI, learners get to choose their preferred learning paths.

There are some challenges ahead, though. The most crucial is to help learners understand and prepare for the new technology-based world and the many disruptive technologies that will change the way work is done. Learners must understand that there always will be some tasks that must be automated, paving the way for roles requiring creative, cognitive, and emotional intelligence skills.

A reliable digital learning company can make the personalized learning experience effortless and help organizations and learners adapt to the most recent and relevant digital learning content delivery methodologies and mediums. We at Liqvid have specialized in AI for English language training (ELT). We analyzed the personalized learning paths of over 1 million learners on our platform for developing our AI tools. Our tools for vocabulary building, automated essay scoring, voice recognition for fluency development, and analytics can assign different learning paths based on learning styles. You can learn more about these AI tools by clicking HERE.

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