This study investigates the design of effective interaction using pedagogical conversational agents (PCAs) as companions in collaborative learning activities. Specifically, we focus on the use of embodied PCAs that evoke social awareness and engagement from human learners. In controlled experiments, paired collaborative learners were selectively accompanied by “peer-advisor” PCAs in a set of learning activities. Results show that learners who engaged with multiple PCAs gained a better understanding of target concepts than those using a single PCA. Furthermore, learners who engaged PCAs playing different collaborative roles (e.g., “mentor” and “expert”) outperformed those who engaged PCAs without distinct roles. The implications of these results are explored and directions for future study are discussed.
The final publication is available at Springer via https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-07221-0_14.