The UCSIM developed an online system that provides students the opportunity to practice specific skills with a preprogrammed virtual client/patient (avatar) through online interactive sessions. This system will leverage the SCORM and Learning Tools Interoperability (LTI) compliant simulation technology. The four outcomes are: 

  1. An interactive computer simulated avatar based on a foundation of diversity and difference 
  2. Immediate evaluation (for the student and instructor) on how the student scored in a particular skill set, which will include specific feedback on areas which need continued improvement 
  3. A means of allowing the initial simulated avatar to be modified by instructors for use across coursework in all participating programs 
  4. Two training workshops for instructors a) hands-on training to teach instructors how to modify the initial simulated avatar and b) follow-up training for instructors to improve implementation in courses.


To succeed as clinicians, students must have a solid foundation of working with individuals prior to becoming members of interprofessional teams when they join the workforce. Further, graduates from these professional schools must be proficient in interviewing skills as they transition into their professional roles. This project will provide students with a virtual interactive forum to practice these skills in a safe setting, without the potential of causing harm to client, and furthermore, allows students to practice until they are proficient. The skill sets include:

  1. Therapeutic relationship development;

  2. Client centered assessment;

  3. Intervention planning in collaboration with the avatar;

  4. Intervention implementation, for this project motivational interviewing

Students currently practice these skills in several ways. The most common ways are through roleplay with classmates and instructors, and standardized patients. This practice is important in the classroom, as the instructor is available to provide immediate feedback to the student, and students also have the opportunity to ask questions, however, an instructor cannot work with every student all at once, and this option may be unavailable or difficult for distance learning students. Students also practice these skills with patients/clients in their residency programs, internships, and field placements. While in these settings, the students may or may not be observed in their interactions with their patients/clients. If they are observed, it is not for all interactions. In some of these programs, the student self-reports what occurred in the interaction with the avatar, but self-reporting has inherent limitations and the student may not receive immediate feedback. Additionally, since each avatar situation is different, and the instructors don’t always observe the students implementing these skills, it is difficult for an instructor to ensure that each student has the opportunity to practice all the necessary skills to competency.