Affective Agents in the E-Learning Process
Luigi Anolli (CESCOM, University of Milan-Bicocca, Italy), Olivia Realdon (CESCOM, University of Milan-Bicocca, Italy), Linda Confalonieri (CESCOM, University of Milan-Bicocca, Italy), Alessia Agliati (CESCOM, University of Milan-Bicocca, Italy) and Fabrizia Mantovani (CESCOM, University of Milan-Bicocca, Italy and ATN-P LAB, Istituto Auxologico Italiano, Italy)
Copyright: © 2008
Depending on the meaning individuals give to a specific learning situation, emotions can be seen as relevant mediation devices between them and the environment, that can activate either approach or avoidance behaviors in critical steps of the ongoing learning process. Along this line, in the e-leaning path, affective agents can play the role of enhancing learners’ emotional coping abilities, by exploiting different degrees of freedom implied in emotion generation and regulation as opportunities for supportive interventions. Affective agents can hence be seen as supportive tutors, able to provide locally grounded reactions, by framing their interventions according to learners’ varying objectives and goals (customization). After outlining the theoretical underpinnings and the empirical evidence so far available on this issue, caveats and implementation guidelines for developing emotionally competent agents are discussed.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Affective Agent: Affective agents are able to be sensitive to and respond adaptively to, learner emotional states.
Emotion Regulation: Emotion regulation is a pattern of processes by which individuals influence which emotions they experience, when they experience these emotions, and how they experience and express them.
Semantic Synchrony: Semantic synchrony refers to the speaker’s competence in coordinating the different communicative systems in order to make explicit the meaning of one’s own communicative intention in a unitary and coherent way.
Persona Effect: The persona effect is the effect of the presence of an animated pedagogical agent in an e-learning environment on students’ perceptions of their learning experience.
Embodied Conversational Agents: Embodied conversational agents are animated humanoid software agents, implemented so as to synchronously use speech, gaze, gesture, intonation, and other signalling systems, similarly to how humans use them in the communication process.
Animated Pedagogical Agent: An animated pedagogical agent is a kind of software agent or entity that functions continuously and autonomously on behalf of the user in an e-learning (computer-based) environment.