This chapter introduces the concepts of Culturally AWAre Systems CAWAS), a new family of adaptive systems that try to adapt learning contents and pedagogical strategies according to learners’ cultural background. CAWAS is based on the notion of cultural intelligence and on the representation of a culture as both a static system i.e. a “relatively stable system of shared meanings, a repository of meaningful symbols…” and a dynamic one i.e “a process of production of meanings. A methodology for evaluating culturally rate and selecting appropriate resources is described. A system implementing this methodology is finally introduced. The aim of this work is to develop systems that will be better accepted by learners and de facto will work more efficiently by showing a cultural proximity with learners during a learning session.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Pedagogical Agent: A pedagogical agent is an intelligent agent that provides interactive teaching on a subject matter according to pedagogical strategies. In some cases (for example in virtual learning simulations), it can be associated with a 3-D body.
Self-Determination Theory (SDT): SDT is a modern theory of motivation proposed by Ryan and Deci (2000). Among other things, SDT stipulates that fulfilling psychological needs (i.e. autonomy, relatedness, and competence) during a task is necessary in order to be motivated.
Culturally Aware System (CAWAS): CAWAS is a software system that tries to be culturally intelligent. To this end, a CAWAS must have the ability for cultural understanding, the ability to culturally interpret a user’s behavior/feeling/result, and cultural adaptation, the ability to display different interfaces and/or starting different strategies depending on the users’ culture.
Intelligent Agent: An intelligent agent is generally described as autonomous software that has different capabilities such as reactivity, the ability to perceive its environment and to adapt to its changes; proactiveness, the ability to take the initiative to have a specific behavior; and social ability, the ability to communicate/interact with other agents in order to achieve a specific goal.
Intelligent Tutoring System (ITS): ITS is a computer-supported learning system which uses artificial intelligence techniques in order to adapt to the learner. An ITS is composed of four inter operating modules: the curriculum or expert model, which contains the domain to be taught among other things; the student model that is the representation of the learner; the planner that organizes the learning session; and the tutor that gives the course.
Multi Agents System (MAS): MAS is a software system composed of several agents that can be more or less complex and “intelligent.” These agents act together in order to reach a common goal. In fact, a MAS can be seen as a methodology for distributed problem solving.