Animated Pedagogical Agents: The Effect of Visual Information on a Historical Figure Application

Animated Pedagogical Agents: The Effect of Visual Information on a Historical Figure Application

R. Heller (Athabasca University, Canada) and M. Procter (Athabasca University, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/jwltt.2009010104
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Abstract

The role of Animated Pedagogical Agents (APAs) depends on an understanding of the persona effect as a mechanism for increasing student engagement and motivation. We argue that historical figure applications of APAs may be helpful to identify the parameters that give rise to a persona effect. Given the importance of visual information, an experimental approach was used to examine how different image conditions would affect perception of a historical figure APA interaction. Eighty-eight participants were randomly assigned to one of three conditions; no image, static image, or animated image. Contrary to expectations, the no image condition was associated with significantly higher ratings for 6 of the 12 measures, including 3 measures of social presence. These findings stand in contrast to previous research and suggest that historical figure applications may be unique in their evocation of a persona effect and valuable for understanding the nature of the persona effect.

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