Jeuring is a professor of Software Technology for Learning and Teaching, and head of the Department of Information and Computing Sciences of Utrecht University. He also holds minor appointments as professor at the Open University the Netherlands, and CTO of DialogueTrainer, a company that sells software for practicing communication skills. He develops software technology to support learning and teaching, such as feedback in tutoring systems for mathematics, logic, and programming, automatic assessment of mathematics and programming, and artifcial intelligence in games. He has been the driving force behind the development of Communicate!, a serious game for practicing communication skills, used by thousands of students and tens of teachers and trainers. His work is used in several learning environments, both in the Netherlands and other European countries.
Communicate! is a serious game for practicing communication skills. It supports practicing interpersonal communication skills between a health care professional such as a doctor or a pharmacist, or a (business) psychologist, and a patient or client. A player selects a scenario, and holds a consultation with a virtual character. In the consultation, the player chooses between the various options offered in the scenario. The player scores on the learning goals addressed by the scenario, and gets immediate feedback through the effect of the choice between the answer options on the utterance and emotion of the virtual character. Communicate! not only offers a playing environment, but also an editor for scenarios. A scenario is a graph-like structure, extended with several constructs to avoid the development of repetitive structures. For example, a teacher can specify two discussions about separate subjects, and allow the player to take steps from both discussions in arbitrary order. We have performed several experiments with Communicate!, both with students to evaluate the use of Communicate! in various programs at Utrecht University, and with teachers to evaluate the development of scenarios for Communicate! In this presentation, we demonstrate the Communicate! game, the scenario editor, including the constructs for defning scenarios, and we report on the experiments we have performed.