After recognition in the international Serious Games Showcase and Challenge in 2013, SIMmersion will see its systems featured on the training and serious games 100-101portal ClarkChart.com, driving higher visibility in the virtual training realm.
“You forget that this is a training program because it’s so realistic.”
“An ideal training tool.”
“It gets kind of addictive.”
These testimonials from police officers who trained with SIMmersion’s Hands-On Interview and Interrogation Simulation (HIITS) point to the high levels of engagement that effective simulations and serious games can inspire. Since 2002, SIMmersion has developed a reputation for pushing the boundaries of the field in virtual conversation training, reaching finalist status in the 2013 international Serious Games Showcase and Challenge.
SIMmersion announces another step forward with the featuring of HIITS and other systems onClarkChart.com, an international portal for training simulations and serious games.
“ClarkChart has always been dedicated to making it easier for organizations to find the right serious games for quick and successful use, as well as providing an industry hall of fame,” says Clark Aldrich, managing partner of CAD and editor of ClarkChart.com. “SIMmersion is a natural fit for inclusion in this highest level of industry significance, and I am happy that they now have their own dedicated place on ClarkChart.”
Aldrich describes the potential of simulations and serious games in an article for the journal Inside Learning Technologies & Skills:
“[Simulations] allow the student to experiment with their traditional behavior… this is impossible in classroom-based role-play, where people are on their best behavior.”
It was this specific disconnect between the limitations of classroom role-plays and the critical need for social skills training that drove President Dale Olsen to found SIMmersion. Virtual conversations like HIITS use realistic scenarios, true-to-life dialogue, and vivid characters portrayed in video by live actors to create an impactful experience second only to a real conversation. However, in a SIMmersion role-play, there’s no fear of embarrassment or impulse to be on ‘best behavior.’ Making mistakes and experimenting with behaviors are vital to the skill-building process.
Aldrich continues: “[Simulations] present tailored, not generic, after-action reviews and debriefings.”
SIMmersion’s learning approach features exactly this kind of tailored feedback at every step in the learning process. After every statement the user makes, an on-screen coach offers non-verbal cues to cheer on successes and flag mistakes. The coach also provides on-demand insights into every statement and character response, supporting users with hints and suggestions for improvement. At the end of the conversation,200-101 a debriefing provides quantitative scoring and qualitative feedback based on details about the user’s performance. Systems also track performance over time to help users see the progress they’ve made and consider their next steps.
Finally, Aldrich writes, simulations and serious games empower users to “apply and improvise the material to appropriately adapt it to situations not covered in the formal course.”
Building skills that generalize outside the training system is a key strength of SIMmersion’s virtual conversations. Training company MindQuilt reports that roughly 90% of traditional workplace training content is forgotten post-instruction. When users are passive recipients of information that may or may not be relevant to their day-to-day work, it follows that retention will be low.
In contrast, SIMmersion’s unique systems get users actively involved in educational content that matters to them through realistic virtual role-play conversations. The unique PeopleSim conversation engine gives characters varied personalities and an emotional model that realistically reacts to user choices during the conversation. Consequences of good or bad choices are immediately apparent in the way the on-screen character responds. Dynamic player pathways through the conversation script allow for following up, backtracking, and an ever-shifting network of topics to pursue, so no conversation will ever play the same way twice. A wide range of character personalities and responses lets users experience many of the possible cases that can occur in the real-life conversations depicted by the role-play, so skills built generalize to more than one scenario.
Because the experience is engaging and has high replay value, retention from a SIMmersion system tends to be substantially higher. One year after completing the HIITS course, 90.9% of the police officers surveyed reported that they were still applying the skills they’d learned in the system and found them effective, meaning that the same nine out of ten users who typically forget training content had internalized it instead. This dramatic case shows the potential of simulations and serious games like HIITS to drive real results in the training realm.