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These submissions were received from Advance HE members as part of the AI Garage member benefit project in 2023 - 24. This project aims to provide a snapshot of the different kinds of AI projects in progress within the sector, as such we cannot take responsibility for the content of the submissions themselves. Projects featured here are not endorsed or supported by Advance HE. Please reach out directly to the teams to find out more about their work. Find out more about the project.

Please note that we will upload new submissions on a weekly basis to ensure that we have a constant flow of new resources for the sector. 


AI Garage – GPT-powered virtual avatars for teaching and learning

GPT-powered virtual avatars for teaching and learning 

Lead institution: Coventry University 

Country: United Kingdom

Project primary contact: David Ashworth (, Senior Education Technologist 

Project Title: GPT-powered virtual avatars for teaching and learning 

The project is: In progress

Project Summary: 

In a recent initiative at Coventry University, we are utilising Unreal Engine to create 3D avatars, primarily designed for Virtual Reality (VR), with adaptable formats for laptops and other devices. These avatars are enhanced by an Unreal plugin called Convai, incorporating GPT-4 as a conversational engine.  

This integration allows the avatars to engage in natural, unscripted conversations on a wide range of topics.  The utility of these avatars is twofold. Firstly, they serve as a tool for students to develop various skills that typically require interaction with humans. This includes soft skills, job interview preparation, and specialised fields like healthcare, where students can simulate patient interactions. 

 Secondly, the avatars function as virtual tutors. They can be customised with a specific subject specialism 'backstory', set up by educators to provide additional support to students outside regular hours. This approach offers a flexible and innovative solution to enhance learning and skill development, aligning with the university's commitment to leveraging emerging technologies in education. 

Impact: To harness conversational generative AI to improve student outcomes through simulation.  

Audience: All of our students.

This output is part of a member project - AI Garage: Creating the Future Now which collects and curates cutting-edge practice examples of AI. You can explore other submissions here.

Resource type:
Coventry University