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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.

Publication:
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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