Kognito Celebrates Its 20th Anniversary

This year, Kognito is proud to look back on all we have accomplished and the impact our products have had on students’ and educators’ lives over the past 20 years. During this time, we have released more than 60 products, onboarded more than 350 clients, and provided training to more than 1.5 million users.

Kognito’s practice-based role-play simulations enable schools and universities to rapidly build the capacity of educators and students to lead real-life conversations about mental health and well-being. Online simulated learning has a significant impact on students and educators, which is why 95% of our customers would recommend Kognito to their colleagues to support critical issues surrounding our communities. Schools using Kognito have also seen statistically significant changes in knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behavior, as demonstrated by multiple empirical and longitudinal studies.1 We take the most pride in the fact that because of our trainings students and teachers can now be confident to initiate life-changing conversations.

Did You Know?

Did you know that Kognito was born from an annual entrepreneurial business competition at Baruch College in 2000? It’s true! Three students from the college entered the competition and were awarded the third-place prize of $5,000. They used this seed money for their development of a lesson builder tool that allowed faculty to author their own course content. This team of students had dreams of disrupting and reimagining how trainings were delivered across many industries. This was the start of Kognito.

This same group of students spent hours in a lab at Baruch College brainstorming ideas for their company name. With the help of co-founder Dr. Glenn Albright, they decided on “Cognito,” a play on cognition defined as “the mental action or process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through thought, experience, and the senses.” From there, the name Kognito stuck.

The early days of Kognito consisted of developing trainings for police detectives and a variety of industries and clients, including Baruch College, Starwood Hotels, Avalon Leasing, the DOE, and disaster management of New York City. After the tragic shooting at Virginia Tech in 2007, Kognito sought to provide support in the form of training to college faculty. The goal of this training was to provide faculty with the tools and knowledge to recognize students who were in distress and assist them with how and when to make a referral to support. With this idea, At-Risk Mental Health for Faculty & Staff became our flagship product and eventually led to the creation of similar products for college students and PK–12 educators.

Kognito simulations are research-based and grounded in the neuroscience of learning and social cognition. With more than 35 published journal articles, our team has created and contributed to efficacy studies on a variety of topics, including student mental health, suicide prevention, addiction, and trauma. Kognito has also received numerous awards. Most notably, Kognito was accepted into the National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices (NREPP) by SAMHSA in 2015. In 2019, Kognito was awarded the gold medal award in the SEL category and bronze metal award in the healthcare category from International Serious Play.

Learn More About Kognito’s Story and Check Out Our Timeline

We invite you to check out https://kognito.com/timeline/ to read the full story on how Kognito came to be and where we are today. On this page, you’ll also find an interactive timeline showcasing our story from the late 1990s to today.

In addition, check out this video which outlines our accomplishments and key milestones:


Lastly, we want to give a big thank you to everyone who has made an impact on Kognito along the way. Here’s to many more years to come!



Albright G. (2020) Introduction to PK12 Professional Development Role-Play Simulation Technology. In: Bradley E. (eds) Games and Simulations in Teacher Education. Advances in Game-Based Learning. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-44526-3_2 

Albright, G., Adam, C., Serri, D., Bleeker, S., & Goldman, R. (2016). Harnessing the power of conversations with virtual humans to change health behaviors. Mhealth, 2. 

Albright, G., Fazel, M., Khalid, N., Hilty, D., McMillan J., Shockley, K., Joshi, S. (2022). High School Educator Training by Simulation to Address Emotional and Behavioral Concerns in School Settings: A Randomized Study. Journal of Technology in Behavioral Science. https://doi.org/10.1007/s41347-022-00243-9 

Albright G., Khalid N. (2020) Swimming Upstream: Preventing Adverse Childhood Experiences in Preparing Students for PK12. In: Bradley E. (eds) Games and Simulations in Teacher Education. Advances in Game-Based Learning. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-44526-3_3 

Bradley, E., Albright, G., McMillan, J., & Shockley, K. (2019). Impact of a simulation on educator support of LGBTQ youth. Journal of LGBT Youth, 1-23. 

Bradley E., Albright G., McMilan J., Shockley K. (2020) Step In, Speak Up! LGBTQ Youth Bullying Prevention. In: Bradley E. (eds) Games and Simulations in Teacher Education. Advances in Game-Based Learning. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-44526-3_4 

Bradley, E. G., & Kendall, B. (2019). Training Teachers to Identify and Refer At-Risk Students Through Computer Simulation. Journal of Technology in Behavioral Science, 1-6. 

Cate, C. A., & Albright, G. (2015). Supporting Student Veterans: Utilizing Game-Based Role-Plays with Virtual Humans to Build Military Cultural Competency and Helping Behaviors in Faculty and Staff. Online Learning, 19(1), 48-63. 

Coleman, D., Black, N., Ng, J., & Blumenthal, E. (2019). Kognito’s Avatar‐Based Suicide Prevention Training for College Students: Results of a Randomized Controlled Trial and a Naturalistic Evaluation. Suicide and Life‐Threatening Behavior. 

Greif Green, J., Levine, R. S., Oblath, R., Corriveau, K. H., Holt, M. K., & Albright, G. (2020). Pilot Evaluation of Preservice Teacher Training to Improve Preparedness and Confidence to Address Student Mental Health. Evidence-Based Practice in Child and Adolescent Mental Health, 1-11. 

Khalid N. (2020) Professional Development Simulations for K12 Educators to Address Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Concerns in the School Setting. In: Bradley E. (eds) Games and Simulations in Teacher Education. Advances in Game-Based Learning. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-44526-3_8 

Khalid N. & Albright G. (2020). Trauma-Informed Practices for K12 Schools. In: Bradley E. (eds) Games and Simulations in Teacher Education. Advances in Game-Based Learning. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-44526-3_9 

King, T. (2019). Evaluating the mental health outcomes of delivering peer-led interventions for young people in primary and secondary schools (Doctoral dissertation, University of Oxford). 

Long, M. W., Albright, G., McMillan, J., Shockley, K. M., & Price, O. A. (2018). Enhancing Educator Engagement in School Mental Health Care Through Digital Simulation Professional Development. Journal of School Health, 88(9), 651-659. 

Timmons-Mitchell, J., Albright, G., McMillan, J., Shockley, K., & Cho, S. (2019). Virtual Role-play: Middle School Educators Addressing Student Mental Health. Health Behavior & Policy Review, 6(6). 

Rein, B. A., McNeil, D. W., Hayes, A. R., Hawkins, T. A., Ng, H. M., & Yura, C. A. (2018). Evaluation of an avatar-based training program to promote suicide prevention awareness in a college setting. Journal of American College Health, 66(5), 401-411. 

Smith-Millman, M., Berstein, L., Link, N., Hoover, S., & Lever, N. (2020). Effectiveness of an online suicide prevention program for college faculty and students. Journal of American college health, 1-8. 

Scroll to Top