Traveller is aimed at young adults (18-25) and focuses on intercultural communication – targeting empathy, understanding and skills, as specified in Deliverable D2.1 and D2.2. Users will come across situations that can (easily) be misinterpreted due to differences in culture.
To briefly reiterate: by culture here we refer to the ‘mental programming of the mind’ definition, as stated by Hofstede et al. in their work (G. Hofstede, G. J. Hofstede, & Minkov, 2010). They describe six dimensions of culture that each has a certain influence on social behaviour. These dimensions will help drive the action selection and interpretation mechanisms of intelligent virtual agents, provided these agents have generic capacities for social behaviour in the first place (the underlying framework for social behaviour in agents is described in Deliverable 5.1).
In the Traveller training tool, users will encounter characters, virtual intelligent agents, from different synthetic cultures (These synthetic cultures will be specified in deliverable 3.3). For many users, interacting with these characters will lead to misunderstandings or even conflicts. These misunderstandings can make the learner frustrated and demotivated, which in turn might have an effect on the educational effectiveness of the training tool. This is why we have chosen to combine the intercultural training (education) with a narrative elements (game-like characteristic) to create scenarios that are both educational and engaging. Such an approach can lead to effective training tools (Garris, Ahlers, & Driskell, 2002).