Trainbot: A Conversational Interface to Train Crowd Workers for Delivering On-Demand Therapy
On-demand emotional support is an expensive and elusive societal need that is exacerbated in difficult times — as witnessed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Prior work in affective crowdsourcing has examined ways to overcome technical challenges for providing on-demand emotional support to end users. This can be achieved by training crowd workers to provide thoughtful and engaging on-demand emotional support. Inspired by recent advances in conversational user interface research, we investigate the efficacy of a conversational user interface for training workers to deliver psychological support to users in need. To this end, we conducted a between-subjects experimental study on Prolific, wherein a group of workers (N=200) received training on motivational interviewing via either a conversational interface or a conventional web interface. Our results indicate that training workers in a conversational interface yields both better worker performance and improves their user experience in on-demand stress management tasks.