What Do Children Favor as Embodied Pedagogical Agents?

Sylvie Girard, Hilary Johnson

Embodied Pedagogical Agents (EPA) are increasingly employed in educational applications, for a variety of users and purposes. However, studies have shown that visual appearance, communicative style, and pedagogical roles of agents impact their acceptance, trust, and user interaction [1, 2, 3, 4]. In this paper, we present a study where 86 primary school children (aged 7-11) chose an EPA to ‘accompany’ them in their learning of multiplications in the ITS application, Multipliotest. The children used two versions of the software, one with an instructor EPA, and another with a learning companion EPA. Additionally, the children selected a visual appearance for each EPA: simplified or detailed, and naturalistic (humanoid-shaped) or stylized (smiley-shaped). Investigations of the possible relationships between pedagogical roles and visual appearance with respect to user preference are outlined, along with the study limitations, and considerations for future work.

The final publication is available at Springer via https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-13388-6_35.