First Role-Play Virtual Training for Preventing College Alcohol & Drug Misuse Provides Hands-on Practice to Reduce Adverse Outcomes

Kognito, a leading health simulation technology company, has released the market’s first online training program using interactive conversations with virtual humans to help college students set limits, build refusal skills, assist peers, and understand the risks of misusing alcohol and drugs. The new Alcohol and Other Drugs simulation joins the company’s mental health and sexual misconduct prevention training programs for colleges and universities to provide a full prevention suite utilizing Kognito’s exclusive role-play-based platform to promote student wellness and healthy campus cultures.
The new 55-minute simulation employs experiential practice to help students gain confidence to apply skills that support healthy decisions for themselves and their peers. In a hands-on interactive approach not used by any other college alcohol prevention and education program:

  •   Learners choose among three virtual coaches, each with a realistic student persona including clothing, speech patterns, body language, and different drinking habits tailored to non-drinkers, low to moderate drinkers, and heavy drinkers.  All virtual students in the interactive conversations are similarly lifelike and animated.
  •   Coaches guide students through interactive scenarios including going to a party, intervening in situations where alcohol or other drugs are being misused, and helping a friend with a substance use problem, while also providing information about topics such as alcohol portion sizes.
  •   Students receive customized information based on their choice of a virtual coach representing their own level of risk – low, mid, or high – as well as real-time feedback and advice based on the specific conversation options they select during each interactive segment.

Kognito’s unique conversation engine and related technology have been shown to be highly effective in driving behavior change. In one longitudinal study of 41,500 students from 149 institutions using the company’s college suicide prevention training program, students reported statistically significant increases in likelihood to seek help when experiencing psychological distress both immediately after completing the simulation and three months later. After three months, they also reported a 70% increase in the number of students they approached to discuss concerns about their mental health and a 53% increase in the number of students with whom they discussed a referral to support services.

“Students are a critical component in establishing a community of support; one that values its safety and wellbeing,” said Dr. Darren Jones, Kognito’s Manager of Strategic Initiatives and Partnerships in Higher Education. “Through experiential learning, we seek to reinforce the sense of responsibility by providing the opportunity for students to recognize, improve, and enhance their skills and abilities to take an active role in supporting their peers. Having difficult conversations can have a profound impact and strengthen peer relationships, and it is important to develop and nurture what we consider to be critical life skills.”

Kognito’s Alcohol and Other Drugs simulation was developed in collaboration with higher education prevention experts representing a variety of colleges and universities, as well as with input from college students.

More information about Alcohol and Other Drugs and other components of Kognito’s Student Wellness and Campus Climate suite – including At-Risk Mental Health for Students and Sexual Misconduct Prevention – is available at

About Kognito

Kognito is a health simulation company whose evidence-based simulations harness the power of role-play conversations with virtual humans to improve social, emotional, and physical health. Learn more at

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