Normally, these Learning Managers conduct training sessions via a web conferencing service that allow their students to view training material as wells as interact with the Learning Manager.
With the role play, the instructors had the Learning Managers come into a noisy back room and stand in front of a panel of 5 judges seated at two tables. Can you spell, "intimidating?"
The performance of most students was a bit lackluster. However, during a lunch break, I had an opportunity to listen and observe some of these less than spectacular role play performers training real students back in front of their computer monitors with their headsets on. They were smooth, polished, and exhibited many of the techniques, processes, and behaviors that they learned in the classes.
I realized then that the role plays should have occurred in a way that closely mimicked the environment where the students' new skills would be put into action: in front of a computer screen via their web conference software and with headsets on. The photo with the astronaut in the space walk simulator tank is a classic example of this concept.