How to Support the People Development Programs with Artificial Intelligence

SkillGym is a cloud-based tool that allows users to improve the behavioral skills through a realistic simulation of business-related critical conversations. With a “learning by doing” approach, SkillGym generates an enduring retention of the soft skills needed to succeed.
Alessandro Guerrini
Project Leader
7 min read


What is SkillGym?

SkillGym is a Software as a Service (SaaS) Digital Role Play environment that offers the opportunity to practice behavioral soft skills in Critical Conversations.
Thanks to the Artificial Intelligence, the tool provides a realistic environment where conversations, as in real life, dynamically adapt to the behavior of the user as the counterpart expresses natural behaviors dictated by their needs and emotions, whether displayed or hidden.


SkillGym is a consistent and versatile system that includes several features, such as:

  • A digital fitness program: a personalized and adaptive schedule of the training activity
  • A “preparation room” where the user can find all the necessary information before starting the Digital Role Play
  • The Digital Role Play itself: a realistic simulation of a critical conversation with one or more characters
  • A self-assessment questionnaire: right after the simulation, the user is asked to evaluate the quality of his behaviors during the conversation he just had with the character
  • An analogic feedback: the character talks about the conversation providing an immediate feedback to the user
  • Digital metrics: a dashboard containing all the detailed results of all simulations played by the user
  • Augmented Replay: it allows the user to re-watch each session exploiting Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality to identify key passages in the conversation and analyze each behavior



To delve deeper into the benefits that SkillGym can bring to your organization, we suggest you read this article (“10 Reasons Why You Should Consider SkillGym for Your Next Leadership Development and Maintenance Program”).


Here, we’ll be focusing on the following practical questions:

  • What is the difference between SkillGym and a traditional learning course?
  • How can SkillGym enhance my company’s L&D programs?
  • How can it be subscribed to and used?
  • Can it be integrated with my company’s technical environment?


A gym to improve behaviors

SkillGym allows managers and professionals to get involved in a scheduled training program of Digital Role Plays in order to improve the behaviors and the competences needed to successfully deal with the most common human interactions throughout their work life.

The concept forming the basis of SkillGym’s methodology can be described using an obvious analogy:

Behaviors are like muscles: the more intensive the training, the better the results. And above all, the greater will be the spontaneity with which the user will put into practice those same behaviors in real life.


SkillGym is the virtual place where the key-people of your company have the opportunity to train their relational skills in a simulated and yet highly realistic environment. We can see the impact of our behaviors on a virtual counterpart with a true personality.

The Artificial Intelligence provides all the SkillGym characters with a specific personality profile, which allows them to have consistent and authentic reactions to our behaviors. This is the key of SkillGym’s “learning by doing” approach: we see the results of our relational approach reflected in the reactions of another individual, and then we learn how to improve in real life.


Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn. – B. Franklin


Read this article (“How AI Helps Delivering a Better SkillGym Training Experience”) to discover how we leverage AI to provide authentic interactions.


One shot training vs constant practice

In a traditional classroom training session, the participants typically retain about 20% of the information that is conveyed to them. Much of the improvement in their performance depends on the daily application of this training “in the field”.

This leads us to two points:

  • Adults learn by doing. The learning process should leverage the learner’s existing experience, it has to be problem-centered and related to topics that are relevant to his/her work or personal life.
  • Practice is the key. Critical conversations drag us out of our comfort zone because we are not used to them. When they happen, we are basically unprepared: as a result, our level of stress grows, reaching sometimes high levels and emotions overwhelm us. Emotions are a huge interference when we have to deal with a business conversation.


How many full-day behavioral courses have we attended throughout our work life? We might find them interesting, sometimes even astonishing.
But once back to our usual work, we don’t really apply them. And after a while, we end up to forgetting everything.

Why? Because habits are stronger than knowledge: to change habits, the practice of the behavioral skills has to be constant.


SkillGym’s Digital FitnessTM feature allows trainers to define a scheduled engagement strategy for their trainees. Thanks to this feature, users are involved in an automatic and adaptive follow up system. They receive email invitations to play with a frequency that is based on their previous results and usage attitude.

The scheduled engagement makes all the difference in terms of retention of the new behavioral skills learned during the role play.


The following case study shows the different impact of three training strategies on comparable groups of trainees: each of them was composed of 45 Leaders with a homogeneous level of the new behavior mastery.

  • The first group trained for two months with a one-shot course of 16 hours, using a puppet-based serious game (the characters of the role play weren’t portrayed by real actors).
  • The second group adopted the same training approach as the first group, but they used SkillGym instead.
  • The third group trained for 1 hour per month, following the SkillGym’s Digital Fitness TM program.

At month nine, the first group retained 4% of the trained behaviors; the second group 16%.
Astonishingly, the third group retained 46% of the behaviors, with progressive improvement.



Use it everywhere!

SkillGym is a cloud-based SaaS, which means nothing has to be installed on users’ devices. It can be used from any device: desktop, laptop, tablet, smartphone.



It runs with all the HTML5-compatible versions of the main browsers (Chrome, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge, Safari, Firefox).

All of the contents in the tool are optimized in order to grant an optimal user experience even using a limited internet bandwidth: a connection speed of 400Kb/s for each user ensures seamless streaming of the contents and a realistic role play experience.

New product updates and technical optimizations are periodically released with no need to locally download or install any updates, and they are included in the existing subscription.


How to subscribe SkillGym

SkillGym can be subscribed to with license-based annual plans. The needs of each company can be covered thanks to a set of different plan sizes.

The more the licenses included in the plan, the lower the price per license. Licenses can be assigned to the final users all together or separately throughout the year.


The subscription also includes one or more (depending on the plan) trainer profiles, entitled to:

  • Enrolling new users (according to the available licenses)
  • Assigning the users to a specific training group (aka “bootcamp”)
  • Defining a training program for each group, supported by the Digital FitnessTM feature
  • Accessing a dedicated dashboard to track the engagement and the results of all trainees
  • Reviewing the Augmented Replay of every simulation played by each user

There are advantageous terms applied for multi-year subscription.

Contact us for a free quote and find how cost-effective adopting SkillGym is.


Same subscription, new stories!

The annual subscription grants access to all the available SkillGym libraries. Each library consists of two to four Digital Role Plays for different business-related areas, such as:

  • Leadership (English, Italian, French)
  • Sales (English, Italian, French)
  • After Sales (Italian)
  • Job interview (Italian, French)
  • Job safety (Italian)
  • Pharma meetings (English, Italian)


Quarterly, new contents are made available and included in all the active subscriptions.

Once released, the new contents will automatically be available for all users, with no need to locally download or install any updates.


Keep calm and tell me your story

None of the available Digital Role Plays fits your specific needs? Let’s develop your Digital Role Play from scratch!
The beauty of working with the SkillGym team is the possibility to ask for the development of new Critical Conversations and influence elements such as:

  • The type of character (targeting)
  • The plot of the conversation (situation)
  • The setting of the conversation
  • The process of communication, provided that the overall length of each story is shorter than 25 steps
  • The behaviors/competences measured and trained
  • The pedagogical outcome of the exercise


A significant savings can be applied to the development price if the client agrees to:

  • Not including specific and branded-related contents
  • Not asking for exclusive usage of the specific tailored critical conversation(s)
  • Focusing on topics that have a significant relevance for other potential companies


A very structured process defines all the tasks and terms of collaboration throughout the development of a customized Digital Role Play.

The related milestones are detailed in the project calendar, shared with the client at the beginning of the project, including the relevant dates. The average timing of delivery can be estimated in 12-16 weeks for the development of up to four simulations in parallel.


Main phases of the development process of a new Digital Role Play


Integrating SkillGym into your company’s technical environment

As in many companies, you already have an L&D workflow? Let SkillGym be part of it.

The SkillGym environment can be linked to your LMS with an SSO connection: this would allow users to access SkillGym with no manual log in.

And all of the users’ results can be sent to the LMS platform or to a Data Warehouse using dedicated web services or secure file transfer protocols. Its data-driven approach allows SkillGym to feed your workflow with the key metrics needed to track the usage and improvements of the users.


Did you find this article interesting? Take a look at our other articles to learn more about our methodology, case studies and scientific papers.

And if you want to test SkillGym, please book a 1-hour discovery call here.

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