How to Make Our Online Mediation Simulations as Challenging (and Useful) as Possible

Lucy, an Australian mediator who participates in our project Virtual Mediation Lab wrote:

Hi Giuseppe

I have been thinking about the feedback suggesting that the roleplayers need to get more into the character and their emotions and provide more of a challenge to the mediators.

For me, I think this challenge might be harder in the online simulations due to 1) people not knowing each other (unlike a training course where you have already spent some time with people) 2) the knowledge that it is being recorded.

I wondered if it would make a difference if we had role play names, rather than using our real names. I have always found that this helps in face to face roleplays to highlight that it is not the person who is behaving in a certain way, but it is the character / role they are playing.

I have also found it useful at the end of a role play to do something to separate the person and the role that they have been playing. One example that I saw work quite well was for each roleplayer to tell the others how in one way they were different from the character they had just played. I have also seen the facilitator ask the roleplayers to “shake off” (and perform the physical action of shaking off) the character and leave it behind at the end of the roleplay.

Looking forward to the next simulation.


Great advice, Lucy – thank you.