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How and why can Tardis enter your practices in social coaching

The TARDIS project, funded by FP7, aims to build a scenario-based serious-game simulation platform that supports social training and coaching in the context of job interview. The platform is intended for use by young people, aged 18 -25 and job-inclusion associations. Youngsters can explore, practice and improve their social skills in diverse range of possible interview situations that practitioners can predefine. The user interacts with virtual agents, which are designed to deliver realistic socio-emotional interaction and act as recruiters. The practitioners have access to a record of the specific difficulties that the user’s experience that can help them measuring individual’s progress in emotion regulation and social skill acquisition.

 

The problem identified

The number of young people not in employment, education or training (NEET) is increasing across Europe. Current research reveals that NEETs often lack self-confidence and the essential social skills needed to seek and secure employment. Youth inclusion organisations across Europe provide social coaching programmes, in order to help young people acquire and improve their social competencies. However, it is an expensive and time-consuming approach.

Our approach

Digital technologies such as serious-games offer the advantage of repeatable experience that can be modulated to suit the individual needs of the young people. Additionally, such technologies are intrinsically motivating to the young and carry the potential of removing the many barriers that real-life situations may pose, in particular the stress associated with engaging in unfamiliar interactions with others.

The TARDIS solution

TARDIS aims to build a scenario-based serious-game simulation platform for young people at risk of exclusion, aged 18-25, to explore, practice and improve their social skills. TARDIS will facilitate the interaction through virtual agents (VAs) acting as recruiters in job interviews scenarios. The VAs are designed to deliver realistic socio-emotional interactions and are credible, yet tireless interlocutors. TARDIS creates an environment in which the quality and the quantity of emotional display by the agents can be modulated to scaffold the young trainees through a diverse range of possible interview situations.

Why TARDIS could be useful in your practice

The platform will be able to detect in real-time user’s emotions and social attitudes through voice and facial expression recognition, and to adapt the progress of the game and the behaviour virtual interlocutor’s behaviour to the individual users. This approach of job interview simulation could be much less time consuming for the practitioners of your organization.

  • It will provide field practitioners with an intuitive authoring tool for designing appropriate interview scenarios and for setting agents’ behaviours without the help of computer scientists.
  • TARDIS will give practitioners a unique access to a systematic record of the specific difficulties that the users experience. This will offer new instruments for practitioners to measure individual’s progress in emotion regulation and social skill acquisition, thus facilitating reflection on their own practice and enabling a more flexible and personalised coaching for young people at risk of social exclusion.
  • The youngsters could retry the simulation as many times as needed.

 

Grant agreement n° 288578