Emergent Leader Immersive Training Environment (ELITE)

2010 - Present
Project Leader: Matthew Trimmer

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The Emergent Leader Immersive Training Environment (ELITE) targets leadership and basic counseling for junior leaders in the U.S. Army. The ELITE experience incorporates a virtual human, classroom response technology and real-time data tracking tools to support the instruction, practice and assessment of interpersonal communication skills.

While the Army recognizes that communication skills are important, junior leaders often receive little or no opportunity to practice important interpersonal skills. If they do receive practice, live role-play sessions may be used. In an effort to provide a structured framework for teaching and practicing communication skills, ELITE replaces one human role-player with a life-sized virtual human. The virtual human component addresses the issues inherent to live role-play practice sessions that cannot be easily standardized, tracked and assessed following the interaction.

After receiving up-front instruction and example demonstrations on basic strategies for helping a subordinate with a performance problem or a personal issue, one student from a class of 50 is selected to speak to the virtual human, and the rest of the students participate by selecting the option they would choose using remote-controlled clickers. ELITE’s instructional framework, interactive response system and visual data tracking are engaging tools to facilitate practice and class discussion, including an instructor-led After Action Review, before junior leaders reach their first assignments. Ultimately, the ELITE experience provides several interactive case studies and a framework for learning how to employ interpersonal skills related to basic counseling. To allow for great access to the ELITE training, a laptop version has been developed called ELITE Lite.

ELITE is a partnership with the U.S. Army Simulation and Training Technology Center (STTC), Orlando, Florida, and the Maneuver Center of Excellence (MCoE), Fort Benning, Georgia. The first ELITE prototype was installed at Fort Benning’s MCoE in late 2011. An ELITE demonstration was part of the Army Exhibit at AUSA in October 2011 and the STTC exhibit at I/ITSEC in December 2011. ICT developed a similar Navy prototype, the Immersive Naval Officer Training System (INOTS), which is in use at Officer Training Command Newport. ELITE’s technology and instructional approach has been leveraged by the USC School of Social Work’s Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans & Military Families (CIR) to train Motivational Interviewing with the Motivational Interviewing Learning Environment and Simulation (MILES) effort.

Facts and Figures

  • ELITE has trained over 1,200 Soldiers at Fort Benning since 2012.