Eric Jutten is the founder and CEO of The Simulation Crew. Eric studied geography at the Radboud University Nijmegen. He has always been convinced of the power of “learning by doing”. During his studies, Eric developed his first simulation game. Even though it was basic, it allowed players to learn from first-hand experiences of the consequences of their actions, without having to deal with the dangers of the real world. After his studies, among other things, Eric worked for Cinop, a consultancy group that focuses on learning, training and development. In the years that followed, Eric developed digital learning solutions in many different fields and for many different companies and organizations.
His experience on simulation and didactic principles Eric now uses together with The Simulation Crew in the development of state of the art simulation games that are widely used by companies and in education.
The Virtual Client: practicing social skills in health care
Social skills are becoming increasingly important for health professionals. Personalized health care requires real attention for the client. Shared decision making asks for well-developed communication skills. Such skills need practice. However, the time and occasions for practice are often limited in real health care situations with actual clients. This is why simulation games in virtual reality can provide a valuable alternative.
We present The Virtual Client: a (game) concept that revolves around social skills training with realistic human-like avatars. The Virtual Client has her own personality traits and shows real emotions and emotional states based on this personality. The behavior is fully driven by artificial intelligence. The player’s input is continuously evaluated by the artificial intelligence system to ensure that The Virtual Client reacts appropriately to the player’s actions. Players can practice many social skills, like making (eye-)contact, noticing dissonance between verbal and non-verbal behavior, or adapting language use to the client’s mental capacities.
We have already made big steps developing The Virtual Client. We can talk to her using real-time speech recognition. She shows emotions, like nervousness when you stare at her, and sends convincing non-verbal signals. The next step is to further develop The Virtual Client, together with one or more health care organizations. They will be the health experts, and will provide the most important skills that need to be trained, as well as the content for making convincing cases. The Simulation Crew will implement the content in an educational simulation to help improve future health care.