Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - E-Assessment

Role play


The terms "simulation" and "role play", which belong to forms of experiential learning, are often used synonymously.

In a role play, students take on a profile of a character or personality and interact with each other within the respective "world". The role-play should help to better understand real interpersonal interactions and their dynamics, while learners try to solve tasks in a context that is (as much as possible) authentic. The results of the interactions are accessible afterwards and thus offer opportunities for reflection on the part of the learners.

Both forms generally serve to check conceptual understanding and developed problem-solving skills.


Advantages and disadvantages of assessment with role plays

  • Role plays provide an excellent means of assessing decision-making and interpersonal communication skills.
  • They are particularly useful for learners who are either operating in a tense professional environment (e.g. diplomacy, acute or sensitive areas of medical care, psychology and counselling) or who have to make complex decisions.
  • Role-play scenarios can be designed with increasing complexity so that learners can successively build up their level of competence.


  • Role-plays are very resource-intensive (staff, time, finances), especially if they are to be graphically convincing.
  • Only cooperations and joint examination centres with a central database for role-play scenarios can remedy this.
  • The protection of personal data can become a problem if the anonymity of the game is removed for assessment reasons.
  • If the focus is on learning how to use the game, a role-play learning platform can distract from the actual goal of conceptual learning in a subject area.