Developed by the USC Institute for Creative Technologies in partnership with The Dan Marino Foundation, ViTA DMF leverages more than 15 years of U.S. Army-funded research into the development of virtual humans for therapeutic and/or teaching applications. 

Initial results from pilot tests of ViTA DMF at Marino Campus are telling. Eighty percent of study participants showed marked improvements in their interviewing skills (see section below for study details) and 44 out of 72 acquired and maintained employment. 

Watch Haley, a Marino Campus student, use ViTA and comment on its effectiveness

ViTA in action. 

Haley's comments.

The Marino Campus (MC) study was completed in the spring of 2014.  Over a four month period, data were collected from 96 students with developmental disabilities, ranging in age from 18 to 28 years.

Each Participant Received:

  • Pre and post face-to-face interview with four ViTA DMF sessions between them.  

  • Concurrently, participants engaged in an interview skills curriculum with the notion that skills learned in class would be implemented during the ViTA DMF sessions.

 This Campus Study formed the foundation for our current ViTA DMF Research Study and helped to develop the current research guidelines while supporting the creation of the data collection tools needed to execute a robust study.

Study Results:

  1. A consistent and upward trend in interview performance across ViTA DMF sessions for the majority of participants indicated that ViTA DMF sessions made a positive improvement in participants’ interview skills.
  2. Performance ratings on ViTA DMF Session 2 displayed the largest increment of improvement across all scales (35% in this pilot). Participants who completed four ViTA DMF sessions showed 80% improvement in their interview skills. These scores closely align with the face-to-face pre- and post-test interview scores. This indicates that a minimum of two ViTA DMF sessions are recommended to show marked improvement; however, four sessions seem required to optimize interviewing skill improvement.
  3. Comparison data between baseline face-to-face interviews and final face-to-face interviews show marked improvement across all scales. This indicates a transfer-ability of skills utilized during ViTA DMF sessions.

The Dan Marino Foundation and USC ICT have an opportunity to build a truly robust research study around the use of virtual reality technology.  The ultimate goal is to continue to refine the software so that its widespread use can improve disability employment rates in a profound way.