Kognito – Creators of “At-Risk”

On the Games for Change website I came across a game with the similar objective of removing the stigmas of Mental Health. “At Risk” is a simulation game that teaches educators about Mental Health and Mental Health Stigmas. So I looked further into its developer Kognito.

Kognito was established in 2003 by co-founders Ron Goldman, CEO and Glenn Albright, Ph.D., director of applied research. Based in New York Kognito’s team is made up of 35 full-time leading experts, psychologists, instructional designers, graphic designers, marketing and sales professionals, researchers and software engineers.

Kognito focuses on immersive learning experiences that drive positive change in health behaviors. They have have created several award winning games based on academic science-proven research and are implemented in community colleges, public and private colleges, universities and online institutions.

http://www.kognito.com/


Co-Founder Glenn Albright Ph.D. and his assessment team conducted studies to analyze the impact of their simulations on learner’s behavior, performance, attitudes and knowledge. http://www.kognito.com/research/

The studies that interest me are:

  • The Benefits of Investing in Students’ Mental Health (2015)
  • Applying Meta-Analytic Data Analysis to Examine the Impact of Simulations with Virtual Humans to Train Users to Identify, Approach and Refer Students in Psychological Distress Including Those at Risk for Suicide (2014)
  • The Impact of Avatar-Based Youth Suicide Prevention Training Simulations on American Indian and Alaska Native Educators and Students (2013)
  • Fairfax County teachers talk with virtual students to learn how to save real lives (2015)

The Benefits of Investing in Students’ Mental Health white paper published this year (2015), highlights:

  • 32% of college and university students are dealing with a mental illness
  • 5% screening positive for panic disorders
  • 6% for anxiety disorders
  • 9% for major depression
  • 15% selfinjuring without thoughts of suicide
  • 6% of undergraduate students will have seriously considered suicide.
  • 4% of graduate students will have seriously considered suicide.
  • Only 40% of students with mental illness seek help.

Only 40% of students with mental illness seek help. Some studies have found that an important factor is stigma surrounding mental health.This stigma can result in stereotyping, discrimination, and ultimately the alienation of students who are already struggling. Other studies have found that stigma is a less common reason for not seeking treatment, and that the attention to stigma has taken resources away from more prevalent contributing factors. – Kognito (2015)


Applying Meta-Analytic Data Analysis to Examine the Impact of Simulations with Virtual Humans to Train Users to Identify, Approach and Refer Students in Psychological Distress Including Those at Risk for Suicide (2014) Results:

  • Composite effect size for pre- and post-training measures of preparedness, likelihood and, selfefficacy to engage in gatekeeper behaviors was large, at 0.72.
  • Effect sizes comparing pre- to follow-up for preparedness was 0.70,
  • likelihood 0.35 and
  • self-efficacy 0.42.
  • Changes in composite gatekeeper behaviors including increases in the number of distressed students identified, approached and referred to support services was 0.21

Over-all the Data supports the use of role-play conversations to train users to engage in gatekeeper helping behaviors.


The Impact of Avatar-Based Youth Suicide Prevention Training Simulations on American Indian and Alaska Native Educators and Students (2013) Study:

Kognito study  using “At-Risk” in university and college faculty, high school educators, middle school educators results:

Likely to help you help troubled students:

UNIVERSITY AND COLLEGE FACULTY: 93% Very Great Extent to Some Extent (very great extent = 26.7%, great extent = 40%, some extent = 26.7%)

HIGH SCHOOL EDUCATORS:100% Very Great Extent to Some Extent (very great extent = 25%, great extent = 53.3%, some extent = 21.7%)

MIDDLE SCHOOL EDUCATORS:97.8% Very Great Extent to Some Extent (very great extent = 40.4%, great extent = 38.3%, some extent = 19.1%)


Fairfax County teachers talk with virtual students to learn how to save real lives case study: may (2015):

  • 14% of high school students nationwide say they have considered suicide. (America.)
  • 6% say they attempted suicide.
  • 50% of lifetime mental disorders emerge by mid-teens
  • 50% of FCPS users said that they would recommend “At-Risk” simulation training to their colleagues.

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