Departmental Seminar: Personalized Learning Using Virtual Role-Play





Speaker: W. Lewis Johnson, PhD

Co-Founder and Chief Scientist, Alelo Inc., Los Angeles, California, USA




For training and assessment to be useful and meaningful, it must be authentic and relevant to performance on the job. For communication skills, role-play with trained role players can be very effective, but also costly and inconvenient to organize. Virtual role play is emerging as a powerful and cost-effective alternative. Learners demonstrate their skills in simulated interactions with artificially intelligent virtual role players. Virtual role-play has the advantage that it is consistent, repeatable, and can be performed in a variety of situations and at varying levels of difficulty. It is particularly useful for formative assessment, in which performance data from role-play simulations is used to assess component competencies and guide the provision of targeted, personalized instruction. This talk will include examples from a range of virtual role-play simulations, particularly in the area of world languages and global competence.



Dr. W. Lewis Johnson co-founded Alelo in 2005 as a spinout of the University of Southern California, where he previously was Research Professor. Under his leadership Alelo has developed into a major producer of innovative learning products focusing on communication skills. Alelo has developed courses for use in a number of countries around the world, all using the Virtual Role-Play method.


In 2014 Dr. Johnson was keynote speaker at the International Conference on Intelligent Tutoring Systems. In 2013 he was keynote speaker at the IASTED Technology Enhanced Learning Conference and the SimTecT conference, and was co-chair of the Industry and Innovation Track of the AIED 2013 conference. He is associate editor of the International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education and co-editor of the Special Issue on Culturally Aware Educational Technologies. When not engaged in developing disruptive learning products Lewis and his wife Kim produce Kona coffee in Hawaii; he also distils single-malt whiskey in Tasmania.





The flyer details are here.

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