Online Role Play for Learning – Current Practice from City and Beyond – November 2014

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The Mill Can You Run The Mill?

Using role play to simulate professional environments,  supported by online environments and tools, is providing an active, contextual and sometimes challenging learning experience for learners in the fields of Business, Law and Health Sciences here at City University London. Much inspired by practice in Australian Universities and peers here in the UK, City Academics have been developing their practice and will share it at a one day event that has been  supported Learning Enhancement and Development (LEaD) in November 2014.

The event provides a forum to share, discuss and explore examples of practice from Academics at Cass Business School (Cass), City Law School (CLS) and School of Health Sciences (SHS), an invited speaker Roz Sunley from the University of Winchester, Business School will give their perspective.  City’s Julie Attenborough and Clive Holtham will introduce the concept and provide an insight into this type of practice and consider how it might it be supported to develop and extend across disciplines. Colleagues, Lorna Saunder and Catherine Hill  will initiate discussion after presenting on their experiences in Mental Health and Law.  Olivia Fox and Annora Eyt-Dessus both Senior Technologists in LEaD will take time to consider the technology considerations that are essential to ensuring an authentic role based experience using Moodle.

City academics appreciate that crafting an engaging online role play activity can be a demanding task for the designer as there are many factors to be considered i.e. scenario writing, role design, choice of online environment and tools. This one day event includes a workshop which  aims to provide useful guidance based on both City staff experience and applying the best practice frameworks developed by Australian Universities as part of a recent initiative. The workshop will be led by City’s Phil O’Shea, ( Programme Director, MA Creative Writing at  SASS)  who is an expert in playwriting and screenwriting and Leona Norris a Senior Educational Technologist at City.

Dr. Mary Keeffe Leads The Way

One inspiration is the work of Dr Mary Keeffe  (Associate Professor, Faculty of Education La Trobe University, Melbourne).  Mary teaches in La Trobe’s undergraduate and postgraduate special education programs at the Bendigo campus, and supervises postdoctoral students conducting research into students with special needs. Mary is closely involved in La Trobe’s postgraduate special education program, which is delivered entirely online and is therefore quite unique in Australia. She has developed a highly innovative simulation of complex professional practice and decision making for distance learners using standard Moodle facilities.

Listen to  and watch the webinar – Dr Mary Keeffe talks to City’s Clive Holtham about her innovative simulation for the Faculty of Education at La Trobe University, Melbourne.



EnRoLE for Inspiration

The EnRoLE project, supported by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council, provides a set of useful tools and approaches to this type of practice and these will be introduced during the workshop.

You can peruse the EnRoLE resources on their web site:


Take Part Yourself?

  • Are you interested in developing similar role based activities for your learners?
  • Would you like to contribute an example of a role based activity at a similar event?

Please  contact LEaD and we will work with you to develop a scenario and to share your existing practice.

Sandra Partington and Leona Norris – LEaD Project Leads

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