Exploring Interpersonal Dynamics Through Role Play provides educators with the foundational materials required to facilitate simulations for students and professionals. Simulations offer an intensive form of experiential learning and professional development, allowing participants to apply concepts to practical scenarios in real time. In a simulation, events and communication occur in real time, similarly to real life. Much like real life, participants initially have limited information and time to prepare, but can experience how a situation might play out, experiment with their own responses, and reflect on their performance individually or in groups in a safer, low-stakes environment, before encountering a similar situation in their careers. Each participant brings their unique background to the experience as they explore the scenario. There is no obvious right or wrong here–only ample opportunity for student-driven dialogue, critical analysis, and engagement.

Although many instructors like the idea of using simulations, they may not know where to start, and live-actor or fully digital simulations can be costly to develop and to run. Additionally, an out-of-the box simulation may not support an individual instructor’s desired learning outcomes or provide an adequate level of customization or control in terms of level of difficulty, running time, or assignment deliverables. Occupying a space between live-actor and AI simulations, the simulations offered here create an inexpensive and effective experience to engage participants in real-time simulations and can be customized with course-specific content.

The templates provided in Exploring Interpersonal Dynamics Through Role Play can be used at any level (undergraduate, graduate, or professional), remotely, in the classroom, or using hybrid delivery. The original Crisis Communication simulation has been successfully delivered with a variety of methods. Simulations can be run over existing student learning platforms, via email, over social media, via text or chat, or even using cue cards, depending on the facilitator’s preference and in light of institutional application of PIPA regulations.

This e-book contains seven foundational scenarios, some offered at increasing levels of difficulty, supporting the possibility of advancing a simulation throughout a course. The scenarios included are:

  1. Business: Social Media Quandary
  2. Business: Interns’ Last Day
  3. Healthcare: Establishing a Productive Interprofessional Team
  4. Healthcare: Interprofessional Communication Challenges
  5. Crisis Communication: Casey Jones’ Caboose Restaurant
  6. De-escalation: Healthcare
  7. De-escalation: Protest

Each template consists of notes to the facilitator including set-up, the foundational scenario and initial prompts for participants, notes for debriefing both interpersonal elements and issues revealed during role play, resources, readings, and assignment suggestions. These textual materials are supported by videos portraying how a scenario might be established, how it might evolve, and how a post-simulation debrief might run. For the de-escalation scenarios, dramatizations are provided for discussion to ensure participants are not put at risk. Simulations might run from fifteen to forty-five minutes, and can support various sizes of groups, depending on overall class size and instructional support.


This book was designed with accessibility in mind so that it can be accessed by the widest possible audience, including those who use assistive technologies. The web version of this book has been designed to meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0, level AA. 

While we aim to ensure that this book is as accessible as possible, we may not always get it right. There may be some supplementary third-party materials, or content not created by the authors of this book, which are not fully accessible. This may include videos that do not have closed captioning or accurate closed captioning, inaccessible PDFs, etc.

If you are having problems accessing any content within the book, please contact: Please let us know which page you are having difficulty with and include which browser, operating system, and assistive technology you are using. 


This project is made possible with funding by the Government of Ontario and the e-Ontario Learning Strategy. To learn more about the e-Ontario Learning Strategy, visit eCampus Ontario’s webpage.


Exploring Interpersonal Dynamics Through Role Play by Catherine Jenkins, Kevin Hobbs, & Joe Norris is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Mirror Theatre retains the rights to all videos and scripts produced by them as indicated in the simulations. Go to for more information.


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Exploring Interpersonal Dynamics Through Role Play Copyright © by Catherine Jenkins, Kevin Hobbs, & Joe Norris is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book