More than 200 role-play simulations are available through the Program on Negotiation Teaching Negotiation Resource Center. These put participants in hypothetical situations and challenge them to deliberate and make decisions in new and different ways. Role-play simulations foster both individual and collective learning that can be transferred to “real world” situations. They also provide safe and flexible settings for experimentation.
Role-play simulations combine the best of traditional learning exercises, which feature fixed rules that limit the range of possible outcomes, along with role-specific assignments that leave room for creative problem-solving. Learners are given common general instructions that set the stage along with confidential instructions (based on interviews with people who have played those actual roles or something close to them). Role-play simulations are usually followed by debriefings in which participants – with the help of an instructor – reflect on how the exercise progressed, what they learned, and how these lessons relate to or diverge from their real world situations.
Technical information plays an important role in some role-play simulations, but the emphasis is primarily on human interactions. The role-play simulations in the Teaching Negotiation Resource Center are ultimately designed to help participants learn to become better negotiators and become more self-conscious about what they are doing and why.