VENTURE – A simulation-based environment for interaction training
VENTURE is a virtual training environment that helps enhance a learner’s interpersonal skills to include diversity training, performance feedback, leadership and cultural awareness – any type of role play that can be acted out in a safe environment in the learner’s own time. VENTURE is particularly suited to compliance based training where the learner interacts in real time with chat bots using open/semi-structured conversation.
VENTURE has three key elements:
- a Conversation Simulator used by the learner to engage in chat or email dialogues with a “virtual colleague”;
- a Scenario Designer that enables instructors to create interaction training exercises;
- an Automated Assessment Mechanism that evaluates the learner’s performance.
- The Conversation Simulator replicates real-world interactions between two people. Figure 1 shows an example of how a student (Sue), a software developer from the UK, interacts with a Virtual Colleague (Raúl), a Spanish software developer. A Virtual Guide (Maria) helps Sue through the interactions giving immediate feedback to highlight good and bad practice at appropriate places in the conversation. Here, Sue complains about a problem immediately; Maria explains this direct approach might offend Raúl as typically Spaniards prefer a more indirect communication style, and suggests an alternative approach.
- The Scenario Designer allows the instructor to define interaction exercises by dragging and dropping phrases into a scenario workflow. The Scenario Designer also has a database of rules and standard interaction problems that can be reused in new simulations. VENTURE’s Scenario Designer makes it possible for the training platform to be used in many training areas, such as cultural training, assertiveness training, and diversity training.
- The Automated Assessment Mechanism automatically assesses the student’s skills. At the end of the training session VENTURE generates a report showing where the student made mistakes. The report includes a final score, and a breakdown for each skill practiced in the exercise. This report of strengths and weaknesses is produced immediately after the student completes the training.
The assessment does not require any intervention from the instructor.