7 Advantages of Learning with Virtual Humans

In Kognito’s simulations, users enter a virtual environment and engage in role-play conversations with emotionally-responsive virtual humans. Through practice and receiving personalized feedback, users learn and assess their competency to lead similar conversations in real life.

Our virtual humans are intentionally designed to be relevant and effective teaching tools, and provide many benefits when compared to live role-play experiences, videos, or workshops.

What are virtual humans?

Virtual humans are defined as automated, three-dimensional agents that converse, understand, reason, and exhibit emotions. Using computer-generated imagery and sound, along with artificial intelligence, virtual humans can simulate face-to-face conversations.

Virtual humans are an alternative to live role-plays with instructors, peers, or paid actors. In addition to offering logistical advantages, they can provide a superior learning experience.

Advantages of virtual humans

1. Role-playing with virtual humans takes away the embarrassment and awkwardness often felt with peers

Role-playing with virtual humans decreases the likelihood of negative transference reactions or the user feeling embarrassed or judged. This often happens in live role-plays, especially when peers are present. This embarrassment and fear of judgement can impede the learning experience.

2. Virtual humans create a safe and effective learning environment

Because there’s less fear of judgement, users feel more comfortable. They feel safe experimenting with various approaches and communication styles, and aren’t afraid of making mistakes—especially if they are practicing in the privacy of their home or office.

3. People are more open to feedback from a virtual human

Receiving feedback can be difficult, but feedback is an essential learning tool. It’s how we grow and improve. Research suggests that users are more open to receiving feedback from a “synthetic agent” (like a virtual human) than from a human being, and feel less judged.

4. Virtual humans create a consistent learning experience

Unlike real humans, virtual humans provide consistency; consistent delivery of accurate knowledge, consistent and engaging role-plays, and appropriate feedback. They also do not fatigue, have a neutral appearance, and are not subject to trainer bias. This ensures that students or trainees have the same standardized learning experience, one that does not depend on another individual’s performance.

5. Virtual humans can be highly personalized to fit your setting

Virtual humans can be created and customized to the appropriate gender, age, language, and physical appearance for each given simulation or learner. In some cases, users can choose their own avatar. This is important because evidence shows that deliberate practice in a situated environment tailored to the learner promotes engagement, retention, and transfer to professional practice.

6. Using virtual humans is easier and often more cost-effective than hiring actors

Learning through role-play with trained instructors has been widely used in health and behavioral health education and practice settings. But the cost and logistics of organizing live skill practice and assessment sessions with trained actors (or standardized patients) can be a burden.

Kognito’s online simulations can be deployed quickly and easily, reducing the administrative burden and providing a more streamlined experience. Virtual humans provide a highly effective learning experience in a digital medium that’s available 24/7.

7. Virtual humans can help teach difficult-to-learn interpersonal skills

Part of the “secret sauce” that makes Kognito simulations seem so alive is how our virtual humans dynamically react to your choices, and remember those dialogue choices going forward. When a digital character has a memory, they start to feel more alive, and create a better opportunity to practice difficult-to-learn skills like empathy.

Want to experience a simulation with a virtual human?

Take a demo to see our virtual humans in action and try an immersive learning experience like no other.


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