In this paper, we would be outlining in detail a role play activity and discuss on the anticipated learning outcomes and procedure, including the sub-skills of speaking that will be focused.
The consideration of new learning tasks that become possible with new technologies should be part of the educator's strategic learning plan (Freeman & Capper, 1999, pp.95-116). We thus decided to design and implement a role play as an interactive learning activity within one module of a teaching course for academic staff at a University. The role play was designed to trial the existing face-to-face workshop that might offer more flexibility of access for participants and provide an opportunity to explore various approaches to a contentious topic within the course. Sixteen participants were divided into two groups of eight participants each and given the same directions, information and role statements. The role plays were set up within a classroom, during which participants were expected to contribute to discussion from the viewpoint of the role they were playing. At the end of the role play participants were given access to the postings from both role plays and the contributions were discussed. Marks were not allocated to the role play, although a specified level of participation was a requirement for course completion.
The evaluation methodology was grounded in the interpretive paradigm, the central endeavor of this paradigm being "to understand the subjective world of human experience" (Cohen & Manion, 1994, p. 205). Case study method was utilized, in which the researcher 'observes' aspects of individual or group activity in order to "probe deeply and to analyze intensively the multifarious phenomena with a view to establishing generalizations about the wider population to which the unit belongs" (Cohen & Manion, 1994, p. 106-107). In this case study the role play moderator is a "participant-observer" (Cohen & Manion, 1994, p. 107), participating to some extent in the activity being evaluated.
To determine the effectiveness of the role play activity the moderator analyzed the descriptive accounts and the face-to-face discussion responses. Participant responses to the activity were also evaluated by questionnaire using closed questions on a four point scale from strongly agree to strongly disagree, with provision for open comments. The questionnaire and discussion covered the effectiveness and purpose of the role play; feelings about taking part; anonymity; and role engagement. Eleven of the fourteen participants completed the questionnaire and participated in the discussion. (Initially sixteen participants were allocated roles but two left the course)
The Role Play
Description and Purpose
The role play was designed to provide participants with a realistic forum to discuss the issue - the letters column of a supposed local newspaper, the Daily View. The role play took place at a mythical university in which criterion referenced assessment had been used within a subject. All students had achieved 100%. Participants discussed the merits of norm referenced and criterion referen