Design and Evaluation of Embodied Conversational Agents for Educational and Advisory Software

Design and Evaluation of Embodied Conversational Agents for Educational and Advisory Software

Elisabeth André (Universität Augsburg, Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-195-9.ch306
OnDemand PDF Download:
$30.00
List Price: $37.50

Abstract

Embodied conversational agents may take on a diversity of roles in learning and advisory scenarios including virtual teachers, advisors, learning companions and autonomous actors in educational role play. They promote learner motivation, engagement, and self-confidence, and may help prevent and overcome negative affective states of learners, such as frustration, and fear of failure. The chapter will provide guidelines and approved methods for the development of animated pedagogical agents including the extraction of multimodal tutorial strategies from human-human teaching dialogues as well as the simulation and evaluation of such strategies in computer-mediated learning environments.
Chapter Preview
Top

Introduction

The objective to develop more human-centered, personalized and at the same time, more engaging speech-based interactive systems immediately leads to the metaphor of an embodied conversational agent (ECA) that employs gestures, mimics, and speech to communicate with the human user. During the last decade research groups as well as a number of commercial software developers have started to deploy embodied conversational characters in the user interface, especially in those application areas where a close emulation of multimodal human-human communication is needed. In this chapter, the potential of embodied conversational agents for educational software is investigated. In addition, advisory software is discussed, but restricted to applications which aim at achieving a change in people’s behavior as, for example, health advisors.

Embodied conversational agents bear the advantage that they enable rich multimodal interactions with learners by employing gestures, mimics, and speech to communicate with the human user. The most obvious role of an embodied conversational agent in educational software is that of a virtual teacher. There is empirical evidence that pedagogical agents lead to an improved perception of the learning task and help to engage learners (see Mulken, André, & Müller, 1998). They promote learner motivation, engagement, and self-confidence, and may help prevent and overcome negative affective states of learners, such as frustration and fear of failure. An interesting variant of a conversational agent in a learning scenario is that of a learning companion. Learning companions ensure the availability of a collaborator and may increase the students’ engagement in a task (see Craig, et al., 1999). They provide an interesting new training tool since it would be impossible to create a real classroom setting for individual students that fosters their learning progress best. Educational role-play promotes learning by enabling a learner to actively participate in a drama-based environment. It provides the student with a safe environment for experimental learning and can make learning a more engaging and enjoyable experience.

Complete Chapter List

Search this Book:
Reset