Modelling groupwork digitally through roleplay and active learning

Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsWorkshopResearch


Modelling groupwork digitally through roleplay and active learning Developing the skill of groupwork is key for employment and is pedagogically effective, according to JISC (2015). Johnson and Johnson propose that students should experience groupwork in order to understand accountability and learn the required professional skills (2013). However, this is not always the case as such good practice is not shared consistently. 
A recent funded project was undertaken at the University of Northampton, utilising the skills of a Learning Development tutor and a Learning Technologist. One resulting activity required small student groups to work together to deliberate scenarios informed by previous student cohort observations around their groupwork experiences. The activity brought members together to devise solutions, subsequently developing them through role-play and cameras to create interactive videos. We enabled students to model skills needed for successful groupwork outside of assessment by engaging in predecessors’ lived observations. The focus was to present videos as if they were challenging future cohorts, thus removing emphasis from their own inhibitions and enhancing digital skills.
Given the shift to online learning through 2020 we have revisited this activity to create an alternative workshop to provide a somewhat different, remote groupwork experience. In this session we will discuss our approach to adapting this to online and students’ experiences. We will provide a practical example to maximise engagement and inspire debate.
References:JISC (2015a) ‘Assessing groupwork’, Transforming Assessment and Feedback with Technology. Available from: (Accessed 18th January 2020) Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, R. T. (2013). ‘The impact of cooperative, competitive, and individualistic learning environments on achievement’, pp. 372-374, in J. Hattie & E. Anderman (Eds.), International handbook of student achievement. New York: Routledge.
Period9 Apr 2021
Event titleALDinHE 2021: The Learning Development Conference
Event typeConference
LocationNorthampton, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionNational


  • Groupwork
  • Roleplay
  • Mobile technology
  • Video
  • Padlet