A Role-play Simulation – Transformative Learning in complex dynamic social systems by Kate Fannon, an updated version here
[This is a very detailed report of Kate’s experience with a role play simulation including lots of extracts from the role play simulation.]

… role-play simulation is strongly experiential which challenges learners both logically and emotionally. The situation is purposely messy or ill-defined; the problems and their answers buried within a range of personalities and their private agendas which have to be attended to before logical, well-informed solutions can be found. This mirrors more exactly the problematic situations that our learners will find themselves in when they join the work world. … The challenge, however, is located in a relatively safe space where learners can rehearse their negotiation and decision making skills with the support of a moderator and peers … Role-play simulation is transformative because it engages both cognitive and affective domains equally within a whole reality. … Role-play simulation is in essence a social experience: it cannot happen without a group of people interacting within a social context to solve a problem. … The power of a role-play simulation compared to face-to-face role-play is that it does not have the time/sessional boundaries of f2f role-play but is run over several weeks. The extended timeframe of virtual communities more closely recreates the complexities of real-life negotiations and changing agendas over time and between meetings where not all players are cognisant of all the discussions or new agendas. …

When Worlds Collide – Exploring the relationship between the actual, the dramatic and the virtual.
This paper presents research and illuminations for discussion from a study which explores the intuitive resonances between drama education, game play and rich immersive environments. In particular, it seeks to illuminate and clarify whether the affordances of virtual game worlds and those of dramatic worlds created through the structures and strategies of drama education can work together to inspire new world views.

Imagining the World: The Case for Non-Rendered Virtuality – the Role Play Simulation Model
Both role-play simulations and Virtual Worlds as pedagogy have now been around for some time and are both considered to be highly effective in creating effective and memorable experiences for learners. But whereas the rendered gaming model of virtual worlds seems to have captured the imagination of trainers, educators and researchers, the role-play model seems to have languished somewhat. This paper explores some of the pedagogic and psychological issues for learning associated with the rendering or non-rendering of virtual worlds. We argue that while rendered environments can contribute to learning, they are often too shallow for purposes such as fostering strategic thinking and problem solving. In such cases, non-rendered virtual worlds may be better in using and fostering the required imaginative capacities of learners.

Suppose you were someone else… (The learning environment of a web-based role-play simulation)
The learning environment created in using a role-play simulation, it is argued, not only facilitates the collaborative process of constructing knowledge in context. But perhaps more significantly, the experience of deploying solutions to problems in such an interactive and reflexive environment and the unintended consequences that arise from such deployments of solutions to problems is instrumental in creating a reflective and integrated understanding of course material….revolves around the notion of taking on the attitudes of others as if they were our own….the suspension of belief required in a role-play simulation frees students not only to explore attitudes and beliefs they may not hold but also modes of action they would not otherwise take…a safe environment where personal beliefs are sheltered by the persona being played and the real identity of students is hidden from view, students can explore modes of action they would not have otherwise taken…Playing in teams allows students to challenge and explore their own ideas and beliefs amongst peers without the constraints, which the authoritarian position of teachers might impose

Role Playing/Simulation by Patricia K. Tompkins
This paper analyzes Role Playing/Simulation using the following format described by Richards and Rodgers:
* Approach: Theory of language, Theory of language learning
* Design: Objectives of the method, Syllabus model, Learning & teaching activities, Learner roles, Teacher roles, Role of instructional materials
* Procedure: Classroom techniques, designs and procedures