The most widely practised instructional method for the development of interpersonal skills is role-play. Role-play is supposed to be a complex learning environment for novices to develop interpersonal skills. The learning environment is complex because of two factors. Firstly, the cognitive load is high during social-communicative problem solving because the execution of all steps has to be taken immediately in a goal-directed dialogue. Moreover, social-communicative problem solving is acted out in a play. A computer learning environment for initial training in dealing with social-communicative problems is suggested to simplify and facilitate learning. A learning environment with computer-based role-plays has been piloted and evaluated. Two experiments have been examined the effect of the learning environment on interpersonal skill development. The results are described. The main conclusion is that the learning environment is considered as having the potential to assist in realizing effective gradual lead- into interpersonal skill development and instruction for novices.
Holsbrink-Engels, G. A. (2000). Using a computer learning environment for initial training in dealing with social - communicative problems. British journal of educational technology, 32(1), 53-68. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8535.00176