The problem

Counselling is a hard career path to walk. You have to deal with people of all different backgrounds, who are usually going through the hardest part of their life. This also makes counselling a hard skill to teach because how can someone properly practice?

To pile on to this problem, the global pandemic gave professors a new challenge of needing to reinvent all of their teaching materials for the online world. Making it nearly impossible to do realistic role playing exercises, a tool that is widely used for training soft skills.

XpertVR’s Counsellor Training solution

After speaking with the subject matter experts at the college and understanding the colleges immediate need to gain hands-on learning material for their counselling students, XpertVR got to work on designing a virtual counselling office. The XpertVR team knew it would be resource intensive to design every aspect of the simulation because of the amount of conversations and realistic avatars required. So, with this requirement in mind, XpertVR approached their long-term partner Serious Factory to utilize their Virtual Training Suite (VTS) Editor.

The VTS Editor allowed the XpertVR team to quickly develop conversation tree-based scenarios (pictured in the 2nd picture to the right) that are personalized as learners make choices. The choices the students make then lead to reflection periods with a virtual mentor in addition to scoring mechanisms and other badges. Importantly the editor also allowed for an ethnically, socio-economically and age based range of diverse avatars. Meaning we could properly represent the real world counselling experience.

Once fully developed, the final simulation allowed students to put on a virtual reality headset and feel as if they were walking into a real counseling office. From there they take a minute or two to chat with a diverse group of avatars in the waiting room, before deciding which avatar is in most need of immediate counselling. From there they move into a private room to have a one-on-one conversation with the avatar they selected, while applying their counselling knowledge.

On top of building this simulation for virtual reality and allowing for full immersion the simulation was also built for PC and Mac so that the college could quickly scale to their entire student population. Plus having the simulation on a computer allows for more accessibility features that some students may require.

Anthonia a VR avatar answers question in VR counsellor training simulation built with VTS
Conversation Tree from VR counsellor training simulation

Results & Feedback

As soon as development and testing was complete the virtual counselling office was made available as a practice tool for counselling students. Although the college we worked with would like to stay anonymous for this case study, we can share that they were very pleased with the final product and we have now moved ahead with 2 more similar soft skills simulations.

With them becoming a continuous partner of ours we look forward to seeing the next innovative idea we work on together. Plus are happy to hear the projects we have already developed are making a positive impact within their institution!

In conclusion

As you can see, VR has amazing potential to help students learn in new and innovative ways. This is just the beginning of VR in the eLearning space.

If you are looking for virtual solutions, reach out to our team. We would be happy to offer some insights and see how we can support you and your goals.