Do 3D Pedagogical Agents Help Students Learn Science?: A Systematic Review

Do 3D Pedagogical Agents Help Students Learn Science?: A Systematic Review

Noah L. Schroeder (Washington State University, USA) and Olusola O. Adesope (Washington State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2013 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2815-1.ch003

Abstract

This systematic review investigates the effects of 3D pedagogical agents on learning scientific materials. A comprehensive search of the literature produced 576 research abstracts. After applying pre-determined inclusion criteria, fifteen studies compared the use of 3D pedagogical agents with a non-agent control condition to offer instruction to participants. The results revealed that 3D pedagogical agents provided more benefits to students learning science than other instructional approaches, such as reading a text. The results are discussed, and suggestions for future research are delineated.
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Why Use 3D Pedagogical Agents For Teaching Science?

Previous research suggests that virtual characters may provide motivational benefits (Gulz, 2004), and that pedagogical agents may “significantly increase the effectiveness of learning environments” (Lester, et al., 1997, p. 360). This is important, as science may be viewed as a difficult subject by many students (White & Fredrikson, 1998). Thus, it is apparent that 3D pedagogical agents may be an appropriate medium to not only help motivate students to learn a challenging scientific subject, but also provide them with a meaningful learning tool through 3-dimensional virtual reality environments. Three-dimensional pedagogical agents may be more appropriate and effective than 2D agents as they may appear more realistic. As noted above, Veletsianos (2007) suggests that improving the visual quality of the agent may change its effect on learning, and thus making the agent more realistic may be beneficial to the learning process.

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