Stevie Carnell, PhD

Message Production and Selection Interfaces for Virtual Humans

The goal of my work on virtual humans and message production was to investigate whether virtual human interviews can elicit changes in a communication skills learners’ message production. To evaluate message production and selection interfaces in virtual human interviews, I worked with instructors of healthcare courses to integrate virtual patient interviews into their classrooms. Students interviewed multiple virtual patients, and their message production was compared over time. One aim of this project was to improve patient adherence by training doctors’ communication skills. A patient’s adherence can be affected by a doctor’s communication skills if a doctor does not communicate in a way that is comprehensible to the patient (i.e. minimizing complex language and the use of medical terminology).

I worked on this project for my dissertation research in the Virtual Experiences Research Group at the University of Florida.


  • Virtual human interviews seem to elicit changes in communication skills learners’ message production.
  • Selection interfaces do not seem to affect advanced communication skills learners’ message production.
  • Novice and advanced communication skills learners view selection interfaces as appropriate for novice learners.


Conference Publications

  • Carnell, S., Halan, S., Crary, M., Madhavan, A., & Lok, B. (2015). Adapting virtual patient interviews for interviewing skills training of novice healthcare students. _Lecture Notes in Computer Science (Including Subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)-, 9238, 50–59. DOI link
  • Carnell, S., Lok, B., James, M. T., & Su, J. K. (2019). Predicting Student Success in Communication Skills Learning Scenarios with Virtual Humans. Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Learning Analytics & Knowledge, 436–440. DOI link


  • Carnell, S. (2020). Using Virtual Human Scenarios to Study and Improve Communication Skills Learners’ Message Production (Doctoral Dissertation, University of Florida, Gainesville, USA).