Research Finding Powerful Effect of SIMmersion Training Will Be Presented at Military Training, Simulation and Education Conference

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Researchers discovered dramatic real-world results in the lives of people training for job interviews with SIMmersion’s PeopleSim® technology. The paper summarizing their findings was selected for both publication and presentation at the 2015 Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC), the world's largest modeling, simulation and training conference.

Virtual HR Manager trains job interview skills

Virtual HR Manager Molly trains job interview skills

Study participants were eight to nine times more likely to get a job offer after using SIMmersion’s virtual job interview to practice interviewing skills.

How much could computer-based training to prepare for a job interview improve the real world chances of being offered a job? Quite a lot, as it turns out. Researchers studied whether job interview training with SIMmersion’s PeopleSim® technology would improve the chances of securing real-world offers of employment. Dr. Dale Olsen, CEO of SIMmersion, who holds a Ph.D. in Statistics, will present a paper documenting the findings at the 2015 Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC), the world's largest modeling, simulation and training conference.

With support from the National Institute of Mental Health, Dr. Morris Bell from Yale University School of Medicine and a team from Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine carefully designed and executed the study on subjects with a range of conditions, from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and mood disorders to autism and schizophrenia. Their ultimate goal was to measure the effect of SIMmersion’s virtual reality training not only in the lab but also in the real world.

Research has shown that unemployment can lead to deterioration in mental and physical health, even in previously healthy individuals. One study found veterans with PTSD were 19 percent less likely than veterans without PTSD to be employed, even after completing vocational training programs. Other people with psychiatric disorders also have difficulty becoming employed, even though studies show more than 75% of people with these disorders want to work. Based on these findings, the researchers set out to develop a simulation that would substantially increase the job opportunities for veterans with PTSD and others with psychiatric disabilities.

The researchers identified the job interview skills that were most important to employers when hiring for entry level positions, such as being dependable or displaying teamwork. Using SIMmersion’s PeopleSim® conversation engine, researchers developed a simulation to teach these skills. In the simulation, users practice job interviews with a simulated human resources manager named Molly Porter. Non-branching logic prevents the conversations from becoming predictable, encouraging multiple uses because no two conversations will be exactly alike. SIMmersion developed Molly to have four distinct personalities and three levels of difficulty. For example, one version of Molly is friendly and supportive, while another will ask illegal, inappropriate questions.

The software will randomly select one version of Molly at the beginning of play. As play progresses, Molly not only remembers everything that has happened, but also uses a patented emotional model that is driven by the user’s interaction with her. If the user develops a negative relationship, Molly will become less supportive and the score will indicate the employer won’t offer a job. However, if the user builds a positive relationship and provides appropriate answers, Molly becomes warmer and the user will receive a virtual job offer.

When compared to the control group that didn’t use the virtual job interview training, researchers found the study participants were eight to nine times more likely to get a job offer after using SIMmersion’s virtual job interview to practice interviewing skills.

“I had expected to find the training made participants something like two or three times more likely to get a job offer, so I’m very pleased the training had such a profound effect,” says Dr. Olsen.

In addition to the virtual job interview simulation, SIMmersion has developed a number of simulated conversations for the government and the public to help people develop skills. Other examples include “Supportive Selling with Dan Williams,” a powerful and popular sales training tool, and the “Prescription Drug and Pain Management Training System,” where physicians assess virtual patient Tom Kramer’s risk level for OxyContin abuse after three years of using it to treat back pain.

About SIMmersion

SIMmersion’s mission is to train communication skills faster and more effectively by combining the world's most realistic simulated experiences with highly interactive training content and extensive user feedback. For more information, contact SIMmersion online or at 443-283-2555.

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Dale Olsen
@SIMmersion_PR
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