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VISTS Glossary of Terms

Last Updated: Oct 30, 2018 01:29PM EDT

Note: This Article is specific to the Virtual Interview Skills Training System (VISTS) Simulation, provided for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Glossary of Terms


Advanced Scenario   A more difficult version of a Basic Scenario, including more advanced techniques and less easily persuaded virtual patients.


Avatar   A Playable-Character that the Learner controls during interactive conversations.


Basic Scenario   A Scenario that presents a beginner’s level of difficulty, presenting more easily persuaded virtual patients, and involving basic MI and TEACH techniques.


Conversation Tactic  A specific approach that a Learner can take during an Interactive Conversation. When selected, each Conversation Tactic provides one or more Dialogue Options that will prompt the Learner’s Avatar to speak or reply in certain ways during each turn of the conversation.


Conversation User Interface (UI)  The controls that allow a Learner to navigate Interactive Conversations by selecting Conversation Tactics and Dialogue Options, undoing selections, and viewing feedback on their performance.


Character   A Virtual Human presented in the Simulation, whether as a Playable-Character controlled by the Learner, or a Non-Playable Character that is mentioned to, or who interacts with, the Learner.


Dashboard   A screen in the simulation that provides scoring and detailed feedback for a Learner following the completion of a scenario.


Dialogue Option   A specific dialogue choice that a Learner makes on each turn of an Interactive Conversation, generally presenting the gist of what the Avatar will say.


Dynamic Feedback   Feedback that the Learner receives from during Interactive Conversations, based on the specific Conversation Tactics and Dialogue Options chosen.


Interactive Conversation   A Scenario within the Simulation during which the Learner takes control of a Playable-Character and engages in a conversation with another Virtual Human.


Kognito Account   An account created by a user on the Kognito/VISTS landing page that allows the user to access the online version of VISTS.


Learner   A VISTS user, specifically one who is taking the Simulation to learn the presented skills and techniques.


Motivational Interviewing (MI)   A method of motivational counseling using interviewing techniques (such as asking open ended questions and rephrasing statements) that encourages patients to adopt self-driven, behavioral changes. MI is one of the primary patient interaction methods Learners practice in VISTS.


Non-playable Character   A Virtual Human character in a Scenario that the Learner interacts with but does not control.


Online Version   The standard version of VISTS, accessible online through a supported web browser.


Playable-Character   See Avatar.


Role   The persona that a Learner adopts during a Scenario. For example, a Learner adopts the Role of an RN Care Manager in Scenario 3.


Role-play   Adopting a Role in a Scenario and playing through an Interactive Conversation as that Role. VISTS Learners practice the presented techniques and skills by engaging in simulated Role-play scenarios.


Scenario   A simulated situation in which the Learner controls a Playable-Character and engages in interactive Role-play with a Virtual Human to learn and practice skills presented in the program (such as Motivational Interviewing).


Simulation   An instructive, virtual program that accurately reproduces real-life situations to provide a safe and effective environment for Learners to practice difficult conversations.


Standalone Version   An alternative method for accessing VISTS by installing the program directly on a VA authorized computer. The Standalone Version of VISTS does not require an internet connection, and therefore does not report progress or completion data.


Talent Management System (TMS)   The VA’s single sign-on login system. The Online Version of VISTS can be accessed via a link provided on the VA’s TMS.


Tune In, Explore, Assist, Communicate, and Honor (TEACH)   A clinical approach to behavioral change that utilizes five core skills: Tuning in to the patient; Exploring the patient’s needs and concerns; Assisting the patient in changing their behavior; Communicating effectively with the patient; and Honoring the patient as a partner. TEACH is one of the principle patient interaction methods that Learners practice in VISTS.


Thought Bubble   A Conversation IU element that appears above the head of a Virtual Human during Interactive Conversations. Clicking on a Thought Bubble gives insight into what that Character is thinking and feeling at that moment in the conversation.


Turn   The segments into which Scenarios are divided. Each Turn consists of a Dialogue Option chosen by the Learner, followed by the response given by the virtual patient with whom the Learner is conversing.


Virtual Human   An emotionally responsive, simulated human being that the Learner controls or interacts with during training scenarios.

Virtual Interview Skills Training Simulation (VISTS)   A training Simulation for VA Health Care Providers. VISTS trains the Learner to practice techniques to help patient Veterans affect positive behavioral changes.

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