Designing virtual humans for web-based learning processes
By making use of the new methodological options achieved by nonverbal communications research, the path has been cleared for creating avatars able to emulate successfully an aspect of human interaction vital to learning processes. Within the framework of this project, this is to be demonstrated by pilot examples taken from two fields of learning in which nonverbal behaviour is of importance for both the technical and the social skills it requires, but in which the relative significance of these aspects differs greatly: Nursing Care and Metal Processing. While the skills to be acquired in the field of metal processing certainly include social competencies, the technical aspect is clearly dominant: the students are to learn a manner of action enabling them to create a high-quality product. These requirements are reversed, as it were, in the case of nursing care: while the acquisition of the purely manual skills necessary to provide patients with adequate care is very important, it is by no means sufficient. As the nonverbal behaviour displayed by the nurse will be of high impact to the patient’s psychological state, it is, instead, essential that the social dimension of nonverbal communication be observed systematically and thus be placed at the very heart of the training strategy.
This project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and by the European Social Fund of the European Union.