Traditional Settings and New Technologies for Role-Play Implementation

  • Elena Dell’Aquila
  • Davide Marocco
  • Michela Ponticorvo
  • Andrea di Ferdinando
  • Massimiliano Schembri
  • Orazio Miglino
Part of the Advances in Game-Based Learning book series (AGBL)


It is widely recognised that role play is particularly suited to experiential leaning. It is a powerful tool that enables participants to draw into an experience and move the learning experience from an impersonal, theoretical and notional form into interactive and participative dimensions.


Virtual Environment Learning Objective Virtual World Role Play Soft Skill 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Aldrich, C. (2009). Virtual worlds, simulations, and games for education: A unifying view. Innovate: Journal of Online education, 5(5), n5.Google Scholar
  2. Altschuler, C. M., & Picon, W. J. (1980). The social living class – a model for the use of sociodrama in the classroom. Group Psychotherapy Psychodrama & Sociometry, 33, 162–169.Google Scholar
  3. Aronson, E. & Carlsmith, J. M. (1968). Experimentation in social psychology. The handbook of social psychology, 2(2), 1–79.Google Scholar
  4. Aylett, R., Figueiredo, R., Louchart, S., Dias, J., & Paiva, A. (2006, August). Making it up as you go along–improvising stories for pedagogical purposes. In International Workshop on Intelligent Virtual Agents (pp. 304–315). Springer Berlin Heidelberg.Google Scholar
  5. Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84(2), 191.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Bell, M. (2001). Online role-play: Anonymity, engagement and risk. Educational Media International, 38(4), 251–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Betts, K., Lewis, M., Dressler, A., & Svensson, L. (2009). Optimizing learning simulation to support a quinary career development model. Asia-Pacific Journal of Cooperative Education, 10(2), 99–119.Google Scholar
  8. Black, R. A. (1978). Psychodrama in classroom teaching. Improving College and University Teaching, 26(2), 118–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Blatner, A. (1995). Drama in education as mental hygiene: A child psychiatrist’s perspective. Youth Theatre Journal, 9(1), 92–96.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Blatner, A. (1996). Acting-in: Practical applications of psychodramatic methods (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Springer.Google Scholar
  11. Blatner, A. (2000). Foundation of psychodrama: History, theory and practice (4th ed.). New York, NY: Springer.Google Scholar
  12. Blatner, A. (2006). Enacting the new academy: Sociodrama as a powerful tool in higher education. ReVision: A Journal of Consciousness & Transformation, 28, 30–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Boggs, J. G., Mickel, A. E., & Holtom, B. C. (2007). Experiential learning through interactive drama: An alternative to student role plays. Journal of Management Education, 31(6), 832–858.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Bollens, J. C., & Marshall, D. R. (1973). A guide to participation: Field work, role playing cases, and other forms. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  15. Bredemeier, M. E., & Greenblat, C. S. (1981). The educational effectiveness of simulation games: A synthesis of findings. Simulation and Games, 12(3), 307–332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Carr, D., Oliver, M., & Burn, A. (2010). Learning, teaching and ambiguity in virtual worlds. In Researching learning in virtual worlds (pp. 17–30). London: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Core, M., Traum, D., Lane, H. C., Swartout, W., Gratch, J., Van Lent, M., & Marsella, S. (2006). Teaching negotiation skills through practice and reflection with virtual humans. Simulation, 82(11), 685–701.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. de Freitas, S. (2008). Serious virtual worlds. A scoping guide. JISC e-Learning Programme, The Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC), UK.Google Scholar
  19. de Freitas, S., & Oliver, M. (2006). How can exploratory learning with games and simulations within the curriculum be most effectively evaluated? Computers & Education, 46(3), 249–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and education. New York, NY: Collier Macmillan.Google Scholar
  21. Dewey, J. (1966). Democracy and education. New York, NY: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  22. Dhaliwal, K., Gillies, M., O’Connor, J., Oldroyd, A., Robertson, D., & Zhang, L. (2007). eDrama: Facilitating online role-play using emotionally expressive characters. In P. Olivier & R. Aylett (Eds.), Proceedings of the AISB workshop on language, speech and gesture for expressive characters. Leeds, UK: The Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and the Simulation of Behaviour.Google Scholar
  23. Dziabenko, O., Pivec, M., Bouras, C., Igglesis, V., Kapoulas, V., & Misedakis, I. (2003). A web-based game for supporting game-based learning. In GAME-ON (p. 111).Google Scholar
  24. Egenfeldt-Nielsen, S. (2005). Beyond edutainment exploring the educational potential of computer games.Google Scholar
  25. Egenfeldt-Nielsen, S. (2007). Third generation educational use of computer games. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 16(3), 263–281.Google Scholar
  26. Foster, J. L., Lachman, A. C., & Mason, R. M. (1980). Verstehen, cognition, and the impact of political simulations. Simulation & Games, 11, 223–241.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Gao, F., Noh, J. M., & Koehler, M. J. (2009). Comparing role-playing activities in second life and face-to-face environments. Journal of Interactive Learning Research, 20(4), 423–443.Google Scholar
  28. Gardner, M., Gánem-Gutiérrez, A., Scott, J., Horan, B., & Callaghan, V. I. C. (2011). Immersive education spaces using Open Wonderland from pedagogy through to practice. In Multi-user virtual environments for the classroom: Practical approaches to teaching in virtual worlds (pp. 190–205).Google Scholar
  29. Gee, J. P., & Shaffer D. W. (2010). Looking where the light is bad: Video games and the future of assessment (Epistemic Games Group Working Paper No. 2010-02). Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin-Madison. Available at
  30. Gratch, J., DeVault, D., Lucas, G. M., & Marsella, S. (2015). Negotiation as a challenge problem for virtual humans. In Intelligent virtual agents (pp. 201–215). Springer.Google Scholar
  31. Gregory, S., & Masters, Y. (2012). Real thinking with virtual hats: A role-playing activity for pre-service teachers in second life. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 28(3), 420–440.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hankinson, H. (1987). The cognitive and affective learning effects of debriefing after a simulation game (Doctoral dissertation, Indiana University). Dissertation Abstracts International, 49, 04A.Google Scholar
  33. Hollander, C. E. (1978). Psychodrama, role playing and sociometry: Living and learning processes. In D. W. Kurpius (Ed.), Learning: Making learning environments more effective (pp. 168–241). Muncie, IN: Accelerated Development, Inc.Google Scholar
  34. Hollander, C. E., & Hollander, S. L. (1978). The social atom and sociometry in education. Denver, CO: Privately Published, Snow Lion Press.Google Scholar
  35. Hut, P. (2008). Virtual laboratories and virtual worlds. Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union Symposium, 246, 90–99.Google Scholar
  36. Jeuring, J., Grosfeld, F., Heeren, B., Hulsbergen, M., IJntema, R., Jonker, V., … van Zeijts, H. (2015). Communicate!—A serious game for communication skills. In Design for teaching and learning in a networked world (pp. 513–517). SpringerGoogle Scholar
  37. Johnson, W. L. (2014). Using virtual role-play to prepare for cross-cultural communication. In Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics AHFE 2014, Poland.Google Scholar
  38. Kim, J. M., Hill, R. W., Jr., Durlach, P. J., Lane, H. C., Forbell, E., Core, M., & Hart, J. (2009). BiLAT: A game-based environment for practicing negotiation in a cultural context. International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education, 19(3), 289–308.Google Scholar
  39. Kirriemuir, J. (2008). Measuring the impact of Second Life for educational purposes. Eduserv Foundation. Available from
  40. Klein, C. R. (2009). What do we know about interpersonal skills? A meta-analytic examination of antecedents, outcomes, and the efficacy of training. ProQuest.Google Scholar
  41. Kognito Interactive. (2009). At-risk: Identify and refer students in mental distress: Results from a national study in 42 leading universities in the U.S.. New York, NY: Kognito Interactive.Google Scholar
  42. Kozma, R. B., Belle, L. W., & Williams, G. W. (1978). Instructional techniques in higher education. Educational Technology.Google Scholar
  43. Ladousse, G. P. (1987). Role play. Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  44. Laurillard, D. (2001). Rethinking university teaching: A framework for the effective use of learning technologies. RoutledgeFalmer.Google Scholar
  45. Lee, T. (1991). The sociodramatist and sociometrist in the primary school. Journal of Group Psychotherapy, Psychodrama & Sociometry, 43(4), 191–196.Google Scholar
  46. Lim, M. Y., Aylett, R., Enz, S., Kriegel, M., Vannini, N., Hall, L., & Jones, S. (2009). Towards intelligent computer assisted educational role-play. In Learning by playing. Game-based education system design and development (pp. 208–219). Berlin/Heidelberg: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Lim, M. Y., Dias, J., Aylett, R., & Paiva, A. (2008). Improving adaptiveness in autonomous characters. In Intelligent virtual agents (pp. 348–355). Berlin/Heidelberg: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Lombardi, M. (2006). Ancient spaces: University of British Columbia. ELI Innovations & Implementations: Exemplary Practices in Teaching and Learning (EDUCAUSE June 2006).
  49. Martens, A., Diener, H., & Malo, S. (2008). Game-based learning with computers–learning, simulations, and games. In Transactions on edutainment I (pp. 172–190).Google Scholar
  50. McGill, I., & Beaty, L. (2001). Action learning: a guide for professional, management & educational development. Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  51. Michael, D. R., & Chen, S. L. (2005a). Serious games: Games that educate, train, and inform. Muska & Lipman/Premier-Trade.Google Scholar
  52. Michael, D., & Chen, S. (2005b) Proof of learning: Assessment in serious games.
  53. Miller, A., Allison, C., McCaffery, J., Sturgeon, T., Nicoll, R., Getchell, K., & Oliver, I. (2010). Virtual worlds for computer science education. In 11th Annual Conference of the Subject Centre for Information and Computer Sciences (p. 239).Google Scholar
  54. Moreno, J. L. (1934). Who shall survive?: A new approach to the problem of human interrelations. Washington, DC, US: Nervous and Mental Disease Publishing Co, XVI, pp. 2–20).Google Scholar
  55. Moreno, J. L. (1946a). Psychodrama and sociodrama.Google Scholar
  56. Moreno, J. L. (1946b). Psychodrama, first volume, fourth edition with new introduction. Beacon NY: Beacon House Inc. 1977.Google Scholar
  57. Moreno, J. L. (1953). Who shall survive? Foundations of sociometry, group psychotherapy and socio-drama.Google Scholar
  58. Perkins, D. N., & Salomon, G. (1992). Transfer of learning. In International encyclopedia of education (2nd ed.).Google Scholar
  59. Petranek, C., Corey, S., & Black, R. (1992a). Three levels of learning in simulations: Participating, debriefing, and journal writing.Google Scholar
  60. Pierfy, D. A. (1977). Comparative simulation game research, stumbling blocks, and stepping stones. Simulation and Games, 8(2), 255–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Ruben, B. D. (1999). Simulations, games, and experience-based learning: The quest for a new paradigm for teaching and learning. Simulation & Gaming, 30(4), 498–505.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Schlanger, P. H., & Birkmann, M. H. (1978). Role playing used to elicit language from hearing impaired children. Group Psychotherapy, Psychodrama & Sociometry.Google Scholar
  63. Schonke, M. (1975). Psychodrama in school and college. Group Psychotherapy and Psychodrama, 28.Google Scholar
  64. Seeney, M., & Routledge, H. (2011). Drawing circles in the sand: Integrating content into serious games. In Instructional design: Concepts, methodologies, tools and applications (Vol. 288).Google Scholar
  65. Shaftel, F. R., & Shaftel, G. A. (1967). Role-playing for social values. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  66. Shaftel, F. R., & Shaftel, G. (1982). Role playing in the curriculum. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.Google Scholar
  67. Shaw, M. E., Corsini, R. J., Blake, R. R., & Mouton, J. S. (1980). Role playing: A practical manual for group moderators. San Diego, CA: University Associates.Google Scholar
  68. Smith, D. A., Kay, A., Raab, A., & Reed, D. P. (2003). Croqueta collaboration system architecture. In Proceedings of the First Conference on Creating, Connecting and Collaborating Through Computing, 2003. C5 2003. (pp. 2–9). IEEE.Google Scholar
  69. Squire, K. (2003). Video games in education. International Journal of Intelligent Simulations and Gaming, 2(1).Google Scholar
  70. Sternberg, P., & Garcia, A. (2000). Sociodrama: Who’s in your shoes? Greenwood Publishing Group.Google Scholar
  71. Sutcliffe, M. (2002). Simulations, games and role-play. In The handbook for economics lecturers (pp 1–26).Google Scholar
  72. Thatcher, D. C. (1990). Promoting learning through games and simulations. Simulation & Gaming, 21(3), 262–273.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Torrance, E. P., & Myers, R. E. (1973). Creative learning and teaching. Dodd, Mead.Google Scholar
  74. Turner, D. A. (1992). Roleplays: A sourcebook of activities for trainers. London: Kogan Page.Google Scholar
  75. Van Ments, M. (1999). The effective use of role-play: Practical techniques for improving learning. Kogan Page Publishers.Google Scholar
  76. Van Sickel, R. (1986). A quantitative review of research on instructional simulation gaming: A twenty-year perspective. Theory and Research in Social Education, 14(3), 245–264.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Weinert, F. E., & Kluwe, R. (1987). Metacognition, motivation, and understanding. Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  78. Wills, S., Leigh, E., & Ip, A. (2010). The power of role-based e-learning: Designing and moderating online role-play. Taylor & Francis.Google Scholar
  79. Yardley-Matwiejczuk, K. M. (1997). Role play: Theory and practice. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  80. Zanardo, A. (2011). Regia formativa: dinamiche di ruolo e metodologia della formazione, in Dialoghi. Rivista di studi sulla formazione e sullo sviluppo organizzativo (1).Google Scholar
  81. Zhang, L., Gillies, M., Dhaliwal, K., Gower, A., Robertson, D., & Crabtree, B. (2009b). E-drama: Facilitating online role-play using an AI actor and emotionally expressive characters. International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education, 19(1), 5–38.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elena Dell’Aquila
    • 1
  • Davide Marocco
    • 2
  • Michela Ponticorvo
    • 2
  • Andrea di Ferdinando
    • 3
  • Massimiliano Schembri
    • 3
  • Orazio Miglino
    • 2
  1. 1.Plymouth UniversityPlymouthUK
  2. 2.University of Naples Federico IINaplesItaly
  3. 3.Aidvanced S.r.l.RomeItaly

Personalised recommendations