Taking Empathy in Role Play to a New Level
Squadron Officer School (SOS) pioneered the integrated use of Mixed Reality Learning Experiences (MRLx). The curriculum development team designed a mixed reality soft-skill role-playing experience in which students practice difficult leadership skills in a safe environment. Since COVID-19, this course has hosted up to 900 virtual students, five times a year. SOS is a leadership school where the Air and Space Force sends all captains. Although most will eventually lead others, many have never supervised anyone in the Air Force. They will soon be asked to step into positions of greater responsibility, which will include the complicated skill of leading people. Emerging technology has matured enough that authentic experiences are possible using digital avatars controlled by real human actors. SOS has leveraged this technology along with deliberate scenario design to provide our students with immersive, authentic experiences that are used as vivid examples to base group-learning discussion with their cohort. This presentation will offer an overview of our motivations for pursuing these affordances, the design-build philosophy and processes, how the MRLx experience is integrated and scaled, student/faculty feedback/assessment, and our sense of the future of these educational experiences.