Soft skills training

CoPilot Designer: Closing the Soft Skills Gap

June 24, 2021
Written by:
Talespin Team
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As the way we work and our job roles change, the need for new and innovative ways to learn and upskill has never been more apparent. Jobs now prioritize communication and collaboration skills more than they ever have before, requiring veteran employees to reskill, and new employees entering the workforce to develop these skills as they prepare to communicate with colleagues and customers.

Evolving hybrid job roles now emphasize soft skills just as much as the hard skills that typically define jobs. Organizations, learning and development teams, and learning content creators face the challenge of helping the global workforce develop in-demand soft skills

A New Tool for Teaching Soft Skills

To support learning teams and content creators in this undertaking, the Talespin team has spent the past several years proving immersive learning content’s ability to teach soft skills, and developing a new methodology for creating that content. 

The result: CoPilot Designer - a no-code authoring tool that enables users to create dynamic conversational learning content where learners practice role play with emotionally realistic virtual humans. Content created with CoPilot Designer places learners in conversational simulations where they can learn new skills, complete skills assessments, receive real-time feedback, and repeat lessons in a safe place to fail. Authors have the ability to determine what success looks like for a learning experience, writing the feedback that learners will receive during a learning experience, and establishing learner performance scoring metrics and passing percentage for each piece of content.

Authors have the power to design custom content aligned to their learning objectives without the need for coding or animation expertise. CoPilot Designer not only simplifies content creation, but takes it to new heights with emotional realism, scalability and skills development insights that can’t be matched by traditional roleplay or e-learning content.

CoPilot Designer has three main components:

  1. Project Configuration: Define key components of the learning experience, such as content structure (ex. lessons), and virtual human and environment selections
  2. Flow Editor: Author branching narratives for immersive learning experiences, with dialogue, learner decision points, scoring and feedback
  3. Performance Editor: Use CoPilot Designer's out-of-the-box animation clips such as gestures, poses and emotions to determine how virtual humans deliver dialogue and perform in immersive role play scenarios

Project Configuration - Build the Foundation for Learning Experiences That Immerse 

Asset Library Selection for Virtual Humans and Environments

Project Configuration is where authors begin building the foundation for their learning experience. Authors define the structure of their custom content by selecting from an extensive library of virtual human assets and indoor and outdoor virtual environments for the learning experience. Authors can mix and match virtual human characters, choose existing voice-templates or upload their own audio later using the Performance Editor (see below) to customize the content. With the option to select their choice of assets, authors can optimize the content structure to ensure its relevance to the organization, giving learners an effective and realistic experience.

Content Structure Definition

Content created with CoPilot Designer can be as complex as a multi-lesson learning module, or as simple as a single dialogue exchange. Project Configuration allows you to create and projects consisting of different flow types dependent upon your goals for the content, including pre-assessments that determine a baseline of the skills learners currently possess, lessons that teach specific skills aligned to learning objectives, and post-assessments where learners must apply the skills taught in a simulated scenario with a virtual human. This is also where the organizational learning objectives are established to define what success is from the very beginning of the content creation process.

Flow Editor - Author Complex Narrative Dialogues With Ease

Dialogue Writing and Narrative Design

Flow Editor provides authors an intuitive tool to quickly write, design and refine branching narrative dialogues by linking ‘nodes’ together. Each node represents specific interactions like dialogue, learner decision points, condition, set variables, scoring, and popups to be displayed to the learner. This system presents the perfect balance of flexibility and structure for conversational dialogue design. Randomized nodes can also be added to create unique and engaging interactions between learners and virtual humans. 

Content Review and Narrative Export

Real-time playback allows users to review dialogue exchanges created with Flow Editor

While creating the narrative branching structure for an immersive learning experience, users can preview the narrative flow using 2D quick review, or 3D playback. This allows users to quickly iterate during the narrative design process and see dialogue in the context of a character performance without having to change tools.

2D quick review allows users to focus on the narrative structure, previewing how the learner will experience the conversational flow and be scored.

3D playback provides a preview of the final immersive learning experience prior to assigning virtual human interactions in the Performance Editor. Authors can preview the narrative flow in 3D, and experience the interactions in the different ways learners would, switching between gaze and voice input. 

CoPilot Designer offers flexibility for content reviews with other team members, supporting exports in multiple formats. Supported export formats include CSV for Microsoft Excel, Numbers and Google Sheets compatibility, PNG for a visual representation, a CPDProject file for team members to import into their CoPilot Designer desktop application, or Fountain for narrative content review.

Scoring Definition and Performance Analytics

Learning experiences created with CoPilot Designer allow users to create custom scoring metrics and user feedback.

Authors can include scoring and real-time feedback to help learners understand their skills and how they can improve. All scoring and analytics can be tracked in the Talespin Platform created for organizational workforce training and management. With a simpler way to design, review, and approve the content, both authors and organizations will save on time and resources. This streamlined process can lead to more high quality immersive learning content being created for your organization to use in a cost effective way. With the Flow Editor, authors have complete control over the narrative branching design to create the learning content that meets organizational objectives.

Performance Editor - Take Virtual Human Performances to New Heights

Delivering Emotional Realism

Emotional realism is critical to the efficacy and impact of training experiences, as it helps to deliver greater learning retention, learner confidence, and empathy. To create emotionally engaging content, learning content creators need tools that enable them to author character performances and learner experiences that feel real. 

Animating Character Performances and Emotions

CoPilot Designer’s Performance Editor was built with this goal in mind, giving users control over nuanced virtual human mannerisms and emotional expressiveness in learning content. While creating realistic role play performances would usually require a significant amount of resources, CoPilot Designer’s Performance Editor enables authors to quickly design character performance without any animation or coding experience by using a drag and drop tracking system. This tool gives authors access to an extensive library of gestures, poses and emotions to animate virtual humans inside learning experiences.

To give learners an emotionally realistic experience, authors can create custom combinations of body language and audio paired with emotions that will persist and continue to influence animation until a different emotion is selected by the user. This tool provides access to an extensive library of clips to influence virtual human performances, such as gestures, poses and emotions. Performance Editor allows users to preview these clips by hovering over a clip and previewing the character’s performance before selection. Authors can edit the length of clips while controlling the level of expressiveness each virtual character portrays. 

While creating virtual human interactions in the Performance Editor, preview and review the animations using various camera angles to optimally see how these animations are portrayed within the virtual environment. Performance Editor hosts 4 different camera angles, enabling a holistic view of the complete virtual human interactions: line-up view to see virtual humans in a staging environment, auto-switch camera to view virtual humans in the selected virtual environment while automatically tracking virtual human speaker, player spawn point to view experience from the learners POV, and virtual human to focus on a specific virtual human.

Library of Gestures, Poses and Emotions

CoPilot Designer's Performance Editor hosts an extensive library of ready-to-use clips that bring virtual humans to life through gestures, poses and emotions:

  • Gestures: Non-verbal communication expressed by virtual humans, such as hand and body movements. With the click of a button, users can easily change whether the virtual human performs gestures with the right or left side of their body.
  • Poses: The body language portrayed by a virtual human, demonstrating their energy and level of engagement in a conversation. For example, ‘slouch’ or ‘proud.’ Users can adjust the duration and extent of poses to control the expressiveness the virtual human portrays.
  • Emotions: How the virtual human is feeling in that moment. This is most noticeable in their facial expressions. Examples include ‘happy’ and ‘angry.’ Emotions will persist and continue to influence the character’s animation until it is changed to a different emotion by the user.

Audio Recording and Import

Users have three options to bring their dialogue to life. With a variety of voice templates, creators can use Talespin's out-of-the-box text-to-speech option to narrate the flow sequence. If users prefer, they can record their own audio voiceover within the tool, and select regions to align with the dialogue text. This option is great for scratch audio. CoPilot Designer also supports imported audio files if users prefer to record audio using other tools, or use professional voice actors. Users can import .WAV, .AIFF or .OGG audio file types into the Performance Editor.

Powering Skills Development with The Talespin Platform

Content created in CoPilot Designer allows for real-time scoring and feedback to support and measure learner skills development. Integrated with the Talespin Platform for skills data reporting and training administration, and the Talespin App for cross-platform distribution on VR and 2D devices, including Oculus Quest and HTC Vive, desktop applications and desktop streaming, our platform offers an end-to-end solution for content creation, distribution, and skills data that is ready to reskill and upskill the workforce.

With CoPilot Designer, you can adopt immersive content to accomplish your organization’s training and learning objectives. Contact us to book a free trial of CoPilot Designer, or reach out to our team at learnmore@talespin.com.

Stay tuned for future updates on the Talespin blog. We are always looking for ways to better support our user community, and your input can help us transform the future of work together.