by Tim Hays
Interactive people simulation technology is a unique, PC-based training system that emulates human behavior using an interactive computer-simulated person in a realistic scenario. This state-of-the-art, human interface simulation has software learning and assessment components to train participants to be more interpersonally astute. SIMmersion™ has a technology base and software ToolKit (authoring system and necessary video and audio editing software) to create applications with the technology.
Several other currently available technologies use animated characters (avatars), instructional system design, or multimedia interface tools for education and training. However, no other currently available technology has the same simulated human interface and similar free-form (non-branching) logic that lets the trainee select from a host of questions on various topics in any order. In a fully developed system, the “brain” of the simulated person lets users experience a variety of responses. The simulated people are dynamic and versatile. When you start, for example, you never know if FBI suspect Mike Simmen is guilty or innocent. Mike’s mood changes with the nature of your questions.
David Hopewell, a job candidate, may or may not be qualified, and he may accept or reject a job offer, depending on how well you sell your organization to him. John Little may be unqualified for the Marine Corps for any of 16 different reasons or may be qualified but have different interests and personalities. The simulated brain’s logic tracks responses and keeps them consistent. In a fully developed simulation, the simulated subjects “remember” the nature of the questions and respond based on typical behavior patterns related to the content of the interview. The brain’s logic component tracks responses and keeps them reasonable and consistent. It then selects likely responses. The circumstances are affected by the subject’s actual status (for example, guilty of the crime, qualified for a job, receptive to a certain sales approach) and by the emotional state produced by your questions and statements.
The simulated subject has an emotional component. The brain’s emotional component is critical in selecting responses to a question. The emotional state of the simulated subject is determined primarily by questions you ask. A stochastic model determines the fluctuation of the subject’s emotional state as questions are asked and responses are given. The model parameters can easily be adjusted to affect the simulated personality. For example, the simulated subject may be forgiving of a poorly worded statement or easily upset and slow to forgive.
Counseling US Army Suicide Prevention
Billy Parker™ is an Army Infantryman who may be at risk for suicide. You need to talk with Billy and respond appropriately to his description of his emotional state, stress, and symptoms. Billy’s risk level, emotional state, and life history can change from one conversation to the next, so you must listen very carefully for underlying clues that will help you make your determination. Is Billy suicidal? If so, can you help Billy develop a plan to keep himself safe?
Billy Parker™ is a very complex, state-of-the-art training simulation that includes the presentation of psychological models as well as SlMmersion’s assistant and feedback components. Students will spend hours getting to know Billy while increasing the effectiveness of their listening and rapport building skills.
This simulation was developed for the US Army as a companion to a two-day training workshop (ASIST-Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) provided by LivingWorks Education Inc. Users practice skills such as identifying the risk-level of a potential suicide, offering support, and developing a plan to prevent a suicide attempt.
SiMmersion’s human simulations provide specific feedback to reinforce the ideas taught , and to develop the skills required to apply those concepts.
Immediate, specific, and global feedback is objectively provided in the following formats:
Help-agent actions – An on-screen help agent uses non-verbal gestures to indicate performance from excellent to poor.
Help-agent text – Help is available during the interaction to clarify specific user and character questions and statements.
Scoring – At the completion of an interaction, scores are provided for specific and overall areas of performance.
Replay Interview – Users have the ability to replay specific questions and responses or the complete dialogue during and after the interaction for clarification and to learn from their mistakes.
Traditional formats for training such as classroom, lecture, and workshop, focus primarily on content instruction without allowing significant opportunity for practice.
SlMmersion products fill this gap in training while offering the feedback necessary to improve and build on essential skills.
Traditionally, soft-skills taught in the classroom are practiced using role-plays. This type of activity is of limited value because:
- students often role-play with other students who have limited or no experience with the skills being taught.
- students can be uncomfortable in a group setting.
- activities are time-limited.
PeopleSim™ technology is a training tool that allows students who have been taught softskills in classroom, lecture, or e-learning formats an opportunity to practice their skills in realistic, face-to-face interactions with a simulated person on a PC.
SlMmersion products do not have the traditional limitations because they allow users to:
- practice at their own convenience.
- practice without concern for being observed by others.
- practice with an actor (simulated person) trained to respond accurately.
- receive reinforcing experience.
- receive instant feedback.
- receive objective overall performance feedback.
Conversations and role-plays with SlMmersion’s simulated people are engaging and effective because:
- users can select from a multitude of questions and statements at any time.
- for each question there are many available responses allowing for variety.
- response selection by the simulated person is guided by both logic and an “emotional brain” allowing for realistic interaction.
- video clips of real actors are used instead of animation.
SIMmersion simulations are simply the closest thing to reality. Nobody in the simulation market comes close to these programs. We recommend that you look closely at SIMmersion’s technology and products. www.simmersion.com
Dale Olsen, President & CEO