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Issues in Educational Research, 2023, Vol 33(3), 992-1011.
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Improving employability skill attainment through a Theatre of the Board role play activity

Rachael Hains-Wesson, Kaiying Ji, Eliza Wu
The University of Sydney, Australia

Vikki Pollard
Australian Catholic University, Australia

In this study, we investigate the benefits and barriers to postgraduate students' employability skill attainment through an in-person, boardroom role play activity titled Theatre of the Board. We use a case study approach that incorporates mixed methods to analyse 157 pre- and post-survey student responses and twelve reflective logbooks. Over a two year period we measured students' employability skill growth through a Theatre of the Board role play. Students play-acted boardroom positions, requiring highly spontaneous and creative solutions to collective problem solving. The results show that students improved their cultural awareness, reflective learning and problem-solving. On the other hand, students' self-confidence with time management, interpersonal and oral communication skills decreased over time. Based on the findings, we present key recommendations to advance role play curriculum design while considering employability skill attainment as a key component to experiential learning outcomes.
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Authors: A/Prof Rachael Hains-Wesson (corresponding author) is Director Work-Integrated Learning (WIL), University of Sydney Business School, The University of Sydney, Australia. Rachael is a Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Trust for Young Australians recipient, a University of Western Australia Convocation and an Excellence in Teaching awardee.
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1549-4504
Email: rachael.hains-wesson@sydney.edu.au

Dr Kaiying Ji is a lecturer in Accounting Discipline at The University of Sydney Business School, The University of Sydney, Australia. She has various research interests, including how to improve work-integrated learning curriculum and practice for higher education.
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4332-3892
Email: kaiying.ji@sydney.edu.au

Professor Eliza Wu is the Head of Discipline in the Discipline of Finance at the University of Sydney Business School, Sydney, Australia. She has research interests in banking, finance, and the impact of financial regulations and is enthusiastic about teaching in higher education.
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3937-8660
Email: eliza.wu@sydney.edu.au

Dr Vikki Pollard has research interests in critical pedagogy, reflective practice, and online pedagogy. She currently works at the Office of Digital Education, Australian Catholic University, Melbourne, Australia.
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2209-1199
Email: vakipollard@gmail.com

Please cite as: Hains-Wesson, R., Ji, K., Wu, E. & Pollard, V. (2023). Improving employability skill attainment through a Theatre of the Board role play activity. Issues in Educational Research, 33(3), 992-1011. http://www.iier.org.au/iier33/hains-wesson.pdf

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Created 8 October 2023. Last update: 8 October 2023. Website: Roger Atkinson [rjatkinson@bigpond.com]