Practicing interpersonal skills using virtual humans as role players

Mark Core
University of Southern California, USA

2:15pm-3:15pm, 29 April 2016
EM G.44


Interpersonal skills cover a wide range of communicative abilities which are often important aspects of a profession (e.g., conducting medical interviews, discussing performance problems with subordinates). Interpersonal skills are often practised using human role players. The use of animated characters (i.e., virtual humans) as role players is a useful addition because they allow a standardized experience, available at any time. In this talk, I will discuss virtual-human role players developed at USC's Institute for Creative Technologies. Each role player is accompanied by an intelligent tutoring system that can critique the choices made by a learner at each point in a simulated conversation. Our research focuses on two major challenges: authoring and providing effective tutoring support. Our authoring tools allow interdisciplinary teams to create simulated conversations used in real-world training, and evaluations have shown that these systems promote learning. The continuing challenge is using the results of the evaluations to improve the systems and their content making them even more effective.


Mark Core is a Research Scientist at the Institute for Creative Technologies (ICT) at the University of Southern California. He specializes in artificial intelligence in education working in ill-defined domains such as negotiation, cultural awareness, and leadership. He received his Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Rochester, and was a Research Fellow at the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh before joining ICT.