designing tool cultural differences training


To Boldly Go... Designing an agent-based intercultural training tool

Promovendus DM (Nick) Degens MSc
Promotor AJM (Adrie) Beulens
Copromotor GJ (Gert Jan) Hofstede
Organisatie Wageningen University, Information Technology Group, Wageningen School of Social Sciences (WASS)

wo 10 december 2014 11:00 tot 12:30

Locatie Auditorium, building number 362
Generaal Foulkesweg 1
6703 BG Wageningen

It is becoming increasingly important to live and work together with people from different cultures in a harmonious manner. This is not new for those of us who live in the European Union, as it is becoming easier than ever to cross borders. While differences in culture may sometimes seem harmless, misunderstandings and conflicts that arise due to these differences are still frequent.

In this work, and in the accompanying European project, we focused on the design of a digital intercultural training tool. In this tool, people can experience what it is like to be a part of a misunderstanding with someone from a different culture. Instead of interacting with real humans, users are able to interact with so-called intelligent characters. These characters are able to make decisions autonomously and can act as if they come from another culture (not an existing culture, but rather a simulated culture).

In this thesis we discuss a few topics: what do the characters need to be aware of, how can we ensure that these characters are able to act as if they come from a certain culture, and how do we make scenarios in which people learn about differences in culture. Our results show that it is possible to make characters that behave as if they are from a different culture, and that, by interacting with these characters, people experience how misunderstandings and conflicts may occur due to differences in culture and gain a greater understanding of these differences.