The Effects of Peer - Like and Expert - Like Pedagogical Agents on Learners’ Agent Perceptions, Task - Related Attitudes, and Learning Achievement

Tze Wei Liew, Su-Mae Tan, Chandrika Jayothisa, , Nov 14, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes

"Pedagogical agents," write the authors, "are virtual characters embedded in multimedia learning environment that simulate human instructional roles." The idea is that "social cues exhibited by pedagogical agents can increase learner’s motivation, cognitive engagement, self efficacy and transfer achievement." But the realization of these benefits are impacted by agent design. This paper looks at two agent design archetypes: peer-like and expert-like pedagogical agents. It outlines the (scant) research comparing these types of agents, and some models describing the differences. A small study tests these models. Not surprisingly, the authors found "learners' social stereotypes and expectations of pedagogical agents mirrored the human to human relationship in the real world." See also Level Up, My Pet, on the impact of leveling and educational agents, by Zhi-Hong Chen, Po-Yao Chao, Ming-Chieh Hsu and Chin-Hung Teng. See more from the current issue of ET&S.

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