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Communication skills


TrainTool is an app students can use to train their communication skills (soft skills) online. The app presents students with a situation in a short video. They will then be asked to respond to that situation, which they will do by recording themselves on a computer, tablet, or mobile phone. They can do as many takes as they wish. Once they have a recording of themselves that they are happy with, they can share the video with their peers and/or teacher and solicit feedback.

  • Train communication skills online
  • Feedback by peers and/or coaches
  • Insight into your their own competences
Communicative skillsIndividualSelf-studyTraintoolVideo roleplay

  • Students can train their academic communication skills in TrainTool, including presentations, performing intakes, delivering bad news, and conducting qualitative interviews.
  • TrainTool breaks up the practice of communication skills into sub-skills. For instance, it splits ‘talking to patients’ up into sub-skills that include ‘information-gathering’ and ‘displaying empathy.’ You can include instructions and examples with each sub-skill.
  • Peer feedback: Students can share the videos they record in TrainTool with each other. Their peers can give them feedback and judge their ability at each of the sub-skills.
  • Theory(videos) and examples are also usually part of the programs.
  • Student evaluates their own recordings using established criteria.
  • In addition to sharing with peers and teachers for feedback, exercises can also be set up as tests with a limited number of attempts. The teacher will then automatically receive the recordings.
  • Good to use as preparation for (online or offline) lectures or to practice with the theory after a lesson.
  • If you’d like to use TrainTool in your teaching, please follow these steps:
  1. Fill out the contact form in which you state that you want to start using TrainTool and state your educational goal that you want to reach using TrainTool.
  2. Educate-it will contact you to plan an individual appointment about the use of TrainTool in your education.
  3. Educate-it offers technical support, but you may also decide to find your own ways within the tool. You can use a default training or create your own.
  4. During the course, you can monitor your students’ progress and, if desired, give feedback.

Starting date: semester 1 2015-2016. This tool is licensed until July 31st 2024.


What sort of teaching is TrainTool suitable for?

TrainTool helps students train their communication skills. Examples include: academic presentations, qualitative interviews, conversational skills (as with patients, clients, students), or language skills.

What sort of videos is TrainTool suitable for?

TrainTool uses roleplays: short video assignments (5 to 30 seconds) that present the student with a scenario. The student should react to that scenario with a reaction video (that should not be more than 60 seconds long). Keeping videos brief is important. It allows for targeted feedback on relevant sub-skills and competencies.

Wat kinds of assignments can you create in TrainTool?

The roleplays in TrainTool are short assignments linked to a sub-skill. Some example roleplay subjects:

  • Gathering the correct information about a patient (Pharmacy)
  • Trying to find out how a child is feeling (Pedagogy)
  • Effectively kicking off your lesson (Teacher training)
  • Correctly explaining how anonymity is guaranteed in your study (Qualitative research methods)
  • How best to use intonation in a presentation (Academic presentation)

The sub-skills are part of the skill that students have to learn (such as academic presentation).

How do I make videos for TrainTool?

This may seem worryingly time-consuming. It’s not! You can record videos for your training just using your own smartphone, laptop, or camera. You can record yourself acting the part of a patient, for instance, or you can ask co-workers, family and friends to help out.

You could also record videos in one of the DIY studios available to teachers at UU. The recording will look more professional and technical support from UU staff is available by appointment. If you want to get professional about it and outsource some of the work, TrainTool can help. They have actors and recordings available for their users. This is an external service that will need to be budgeted for.

Can I add other teaching materials to my TrainTool course?

You could add some preparation before a roleplay assignment in the form of a video or image and explanatory text. You can also attach files (such as a manual) to your course’s main page.

How does giving feedback in TrainTool work?

When a student has created a reaction video, they can share it with their peers. Teachers can also offer feedback to any video submitted by a student. All feedback is text-based. In it, you judge whether the student has attained the competencies the assignment demands.