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HCI Webinar: Using Virtual Reality for Upskilling and Professional Development, with Sophie Thompson

In the latest HCI Webinar, Dr. Jonathan H. Westover talks with Sophie Thompson about using virtual reality for upskilling and professional development. Below is a summary of the main points from their conversation! Check out the full episode and let us know what you think!


Watch the episode here:


Quick Recap


Sophie and Jonathan discussed the role of technology in personalized learning and professional development. They emphasized the potential of AI and VR in adjusting to individual learning patterns, practicing public speaking, and providing feedback. They also mentioned the possibility of combining VR with AI for future development and the translation of role plays into multiple languages.


Technology's Role in Personalized Learning and Professional Development


Jonathan and Sophie discussed the increasing role of technology in personalized learning and professional development. Sophie, based in Birmingham, highlighted the potential of AI in adjusting to individual learning patterns and preferences. Jonathan expressed enthusiasm for the potential of AI disruption despite associated discomfort. Sophie also mentioned the use of virtual reality for professional development and upskilling, sharing her personal journey and the evolution of her platform, Virtual Speech, which offers courses on communication and interpersonal skills. She emphasized the need to adapt to the strengths of both humans and AI in using these technologies.


VR Public Speaking Practice: Benefits and Feedback


Jonathan and Sophie discussed the use of VR technology in practicing public speaking. Jonathan highlighted the universality of public speaking anxiety and the value of practice in enhancing confidence. Sophie explained the benefits of VR practice, such as the objectivity of AI feedback and the ability to practice immediately. She emphasized that VR feedback is not just critical, but also constructive and encouraging. Jonathan expressed interest in using VR technology for his university students to provide more opportunities for practice and feedback.


AI Feedback for Professional Development


Jonathan and Sophie discussed the potential benefits of utilizing AI technology for feedback and professional development. Jonathan shared his experience with his son's AI-assisted essay feedback, emphasizing its immediate and constructive feedback. He suggested that similar technology could be used to enhance professional development and team performance, leading to increased efficiency. Sophie agreed, pointing out that AI feedback could be objective.


Virtual Reality and AI in Public Speaking Practice


Sophie and Jonathan discussed the use of virtual reality and AI in public speaking and professional development. Sophie explained that virtual reality can be used to practice difficult conversations, such as performance reviews or disciplinary actions, through role play simulations. The AI in these simulations can respond based on the user's input, providing a realistic practice environment. They also touched upon the benefits of this technology, such as the ability to evoke emotional responses and the potential for on-demand role play.


Virtual Reality and AI: Efficient Learning and Job Practice


Jonathan and Sophie discussed the potential of a new technology that combines virtual reality with artificial intelligence. Jonathan emphasized the efficiency and scalability of the technology, and Sophie explained how it could be used for continuous learning and job interview practice. They highlighted the technology's ability to provide real-time, unlimited access to coaching, mentoring, training, and development without any bottlenecks. Sophie explained how the technology uses AI to provide feedback on both delivery and content, and to make interactions more interactive and realistic.


Language Practice in VR With AI Technology


Sophie discussed the development of role plays in multiple languages, noting that the AI technology has allowed for more advanced branch learning scenarios and even helped people practice language skills in a virtual environment. She also shared that the technology has been used for practicing conversations and boosting confidence. Jonathan was surprised and pleased about the unexpected use case of language practice in the VR environment. Sophie also highlighted a 25% improvement in skills after just 10 minutes of practice, but emphasized that this improvement in a virtual environment does not automatically translate to real-world confidence.


Interactive Learning: VR, AI, and Professional Development


Sophie discussed the higher retention rates achieved through interactive and engaging learning experiences, such as those offered by virtual reality (VR) and artificial intelligence (AI). She emphasized the benefits of this approach, including increased focus and active participation, as compared to traditional reading or watching learning materials. Jonathan agreed with Sophie, highlighting the importance of personalization in professional development and upskilling.


Listen to the webinar here:





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