Publication Details

This article was originally published as Wills, S, Role-based e-learning for university students : a comparison of Australian, American, British and Singapore designs, Journal of comparative education (JCE), 2012. Original publisher information available here

Additional Publication Information

Published in Chinese


Role play in face-to-face contexts has been shown to be a powerful teaching design at all levels of education. The arrival of e-learning makes it possible to engage with different types of role play, for example inter-national and inter-institutional collaborations, role plays blending online and face-to-face interaction, role plays blending synchronous and asynchronous media including recordings of the sessions, and role play within distance learning contexts. It is now possible to conduct elaborate and responsive role play activities where the identity of the participants is not immediately apparent, where they may use avatars or inhabit 3D virtual worlds as part of the role play. This paper charts the development of role-based e-learning over the past 20 years in Australia using simple e-learning technologies such as email and online discussion forums and compares this with emerging forms of the e-learning design which are adopting newer technologies in America, Britain and Asia.


130202 Curriculum and Pedagogy Theory and Development, 130302 Comparative and Cross-Cultural Education, 130306 Educational Technology and Computing