Teaching learning strategies with a pedagogical agent. The effects of a virtual tutor and its appearance on learning and motivation.
Studied whether a pedagogical agent can have indirect effects when it is employed as a tutor for learning strategies rather than directly teaching the relevant learning material. In a between-subjects design with 45 college students (aged 19-26 years), 2 groups instructed by 2 different kinds of pedagogical agents were compared - a cartoon-like rabbit and a realistic anthropomorphic agent - to a control group that was not tutored by an animated agent but was informed by voice only. Results showed no clear advantages for the agents compared to voice-based tutoring with regard to indirect learning effects, but they did demonstrate that the appearance of the agent matters. The rabbit-like agent was not only preferred, but people exposed themselves longer to the tutoring session when the rabbit provided feedback.
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