ITeach: Evaluating virtual character benefits on a learning task with repeated interactions

Embodied agents have the potential to become a highly natural human-computer interaction device - they are already is use as tutors, presenters and assistants. However, it remains an open question whether adding an agent to an application has a measurable impact, positive or negative, in terms of motivation and learning performance. Prior studies are very diverse with respect to design, statistical power and outcome; and repeated interactions are rarely considered. We present a controlled user study of a vocabulary trainer application that evaluates the effect on motivation and learning performance. Subjects interacted either with a no-agent and with-agent version in a between-subjects design in repeated sessions. As opposed to prior work (e.g. Persona Effect), we found neither positive nor negative effects on motivation and learning performance, i.e. a Persona Zero-Effect. This means that adding an agent does not benefit the performance but also, does not distract.

The virtual character was kindly provided by Charamel GmbH.

Miksatko, J., Kipp, K.H., Kipp, M. (2010) The Persona Zero-Effect: Evaluating virtual character benefits on a learning task. In: Proceedings of the 10th International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents (IVA-10), Springer.

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