Designing Embodied Interactive Software Agents for E-Learning: Principles, Components, and Roles

Embodied interactive software agents are complex autonomous, adaptive, and social software systems with a digital embodiment that enables them to act on and react to other entities (users, objects, and other agents) in their environment through bodily actions, which include the use of verbal and non...

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Bibliographic Details
Main Author: Franke, Peter
Contributors: Handke, Jürgen (Prof. Dr.) (Thesis advisor)
Format: Dissertation
Language:English
Published: Philipps-Universität Marburg 2009
Anglistik und Amerikanistik
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Summary:Embodied interactive software agents are complex autonomous, adaptive, and social software systems with a digital embodiment that enables them to act on and react to other entities (users, objects, and other agents) in their environment through bodily actions, which include the use of verbal and non-verbal communicative behaviors in face-to-face interactions with the user. These agents have been developed for various roles in different application domains, in which they perform tasks that have been assigned to them by their developers or delegated to them by their users or by other agents. In computer-assisted learning, embodied interactive pedagogical software agents have the general task to promote human learning by working with students (and other agents) in computer-based learning environments, among them e-learning platforms based on Internet technologies, such as the Virtual Linguistics Campus (www.linguistics-online.com). In these environments, pedagogical agents provide contextualized, qualified, personalized, and timely assistance, cooperation, instruction, motivation, and services for both individual learners and groups of learners. This thesis develops a comprehensive, multidisciplinary, and user-oriented view of the design of embodied interactive pedagogical software agents, which integrates theoretical and practical insights from various academic and other fields. The research intends to contribute to the scientific understanding of issues, methods, theories, and technologies that are involved in the design, implementation, and evaluation of embodied interactive software agents for different roles in e-learning and other areas. For developers, the thesis provides sixteen basic principles (Added Value, Perceptible Qualities, Balanced Design, Coherence, Consistency, Completeness, Comprehensibility, Individuality, Variability, Communicative Ability, Modularity, Teamwork, Participatory Design, Role Awareness, Cultural Awareness, and Relationship Building) plus a large number of specific guidelines for the design of embodied interactive software agents and their components. Furthermore, it offers critical reviews of theories, concepts, approaches, and technologies from different areas and disciplines that are relevant to agent design. Finally, it discusses three pedagogical agent roles (virtual native speaker, coach, and peer) in the scenario of the linguistic fieldwork classes on the Virtual Linguistics Campus and presents detailed considerations for the design of an agent for one of these roles (the virtual native speaker).
DOI:https://doi.org/10.17192/z2009.0695