Evaluating virtual human role-players to practice & develop leadership skills. (2020)
Type of ContentTheses / Dissertations
Thesis DisciplineHuman Interface Technology
Degree NameMaster of Human Interface Technology
PublisherUniversity of Canterbury
AuthorsSuarez, Gonzaloshow all
Many organizations are dissatisfied with the outcomes of their leadership training efforts despite the significant money they are investing in training programs. Researchers suggest that practice-based training techniques, such as role-playing, are the most critical and effective for influencing training outcomes. However, role-playing suffers from several drawbacks, including cost, both in terms of time and money. In response, the rapid development in human-computer interaction may offer an opportunity to complement and support traditional training delivery methods with a more scalable and cost-effective approach. This thesis evaluates the effectiveness of virtual human (VH) role-players within two computer-generated environments: virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR).
An experimental platform was developed to provide an interactive training experience with either real or virtual humans during structured role-play scenarios driven by turn- based branching narratives. The narratives were designed following the framework of a proven, time-tested leadership model, and a user study experiment was conducted. We investigated (1) if VH role-players were as effective as real human (RH) role-players to support the practice of leadership skills, and (2) the impact that both computer- generated environments had on the outcomes. Finally, we collected user reactions and learning feedback from the overall training experience.
Results showed that VHs can be effective training tools to support the practice of leadership skills. Both computer-generated environments had positive impacts on the training experience. However, the MR environment had a greater influence on the overall results in comparison to the VR environment. The analysis and evaluation of the results showed that the overall training was a consistent and positive experience.