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Embodied Pedagogical Agents: From Visual Impact to Pedagogical Implications

Haake, Magnus LU (2009)
Abstract
Embodied pedagogical agents – visually represented, computer generated characters

in pedagogical roles, such as virtual instructors, mentors and learning companions

– populate the digital society in increasing numbers. They are found

in educational programmes from preschool to university, as well as in broader

educational contexts in the form of medical counsellors, virtual health coaches,

information guides, etc. Since long, they also appear in edutainment and infotainment

settings.

The thesis addresses psychological, cognitive and social aspects of embodied

virtual characters in pedagogical contexts with respect to ‘static visual characteristics’,

i.e.... (More)
Embodied pedagogical agents – visually represented, computer generated characters

in pedagogical roles, such as virtual instructors, mentors and learning companions

– populate the digital society in increasing numbers. They are found

in educational programmes from preschool to university, as well as in broader

educational contexts in the form of medical counsellors, virtual health coaches,

information guides, etc. Since long, they also appear in edutainment and infotainment

settings.

The thesis addresses psychological, cognitive and social aspects of embodied

virtual characters in pedagogical contexts with respect to ‘static visual characteristics’,

i.e. underlying visual characteristics. On the basis of theoretical considerations

as well as several empirical studies, it is argued that users’ visual and

aesthetic experience of embodied pedagogical characters (EPCs) is too important

to be treated as a secondary issue – not the least with respect to central pedagogical

goals to motivate and engage.

The main conclusions of the thesis are: (i) that visual aspects in EPCs can

be related to pedagogical outcomes, (ii) that there may be significant relations

between visual and social characteristics of EPCs and learner characteristics, and

(iii) that EPCs may reproduce stereotypes from everyday real life human-human

interaction, as well as from traditional visual media – but that they simultaneously

harbour a considerable potential to challenge stereotypes.

As a tool for the research community, a framework of a visual graphical design

space is proposed. The framework may scaffold the design of user evaluations,

which often are blurred by uncontrolled visually related variables. With regard to

weak user evaluations, the thesis furthermore argues that there is a problem with

user evaluations based upon the concept of ‘the User’, i.e. an averaged standardized

user. In order to reveal important correlations between agent characteristics

and user characteristics, it is often necessary to identify relevant subgroups of

users rather than to treat the whole user group as an ‘averaged user’.

And finally – virtual agents may have a not yet thought of potential as research

tools … (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
supervisor
opponent
  • Dr. Veletsianos, George, School of Education, The University of Manchester, UK.
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
masculinity, role modelling, cognitive styles, stereotypes, education, pedagogical implications, visual style, virtual characters, visual design, Virtual pedagogical agents, femininity, gender, androgynities
pages
240 pages
publisher
Institutionen för designvetenskaper, Lunds Tekniska Högskola, Lunds universitet
defense location
Room Stora hörsalen, Ingvar Kamprad Design Centrum (IKDC), Sölvegatan 26, Lund University Faculty of Engineering
defense date
2009-05-20 10:15
external identifiers
  • other:ISRN LUTMDN/TMAT --1032--SE
ISSN
1650-9773
ISBN
978-91-628-7804-7
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
a826874b-827c-40ba-b572-aed0931415d8 (old id 1389720)
date added to LUP
2009-04-23 16:12:01
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:44:45
@phdthesis{a826874b-827c-40ba-b572-aed0931415d8,
  abstract     = {Embodied pedagogical agents – visually represented, computer generated characters<br/><br>
in pedagogical roles, such as virtual instructors, mentors and learning companions<br/><br>
– populate the digital society in increasing numbers. They are found<br/><br>
in educational programmes from preschool to university, as well as in broader<br/><br>
educational contexts in the form of medical counsellors, virtual health coaches,<br/><br>
information guides, etc. Since long, they also appear in edutainment and infotainment<br/><br>
settings.<br/><br>
The thesis addresses psychological, cognitive and social aspects of embodied<br/><br>
virtual characters in pedagogical contexts with respect to ‘static visual characteristics’,<br/><br>
i.e. underlying visual characteristics. On the basis of theoretical considerations<br/><br>
as well as several empirical studies, it is argued that users’ visual and<br/><br>
aesthetic experience of embodied pedagogical characters (EPCs) is too important<br/><br>
to be treated as a secondary issue – not the least with respect to central pedagogical<br/><br>
goals to motivate and engage.<br/><br>
The main conclusions of the thesis are: (i) that visual aspects in EPCs can<br/><br>
be related to pedagogical outcomes, (ii) that there may be significant relations<br/><br>
between visual and social characteristics of EPCs and learner characteristics, and<br/><br>
(iii) that EPCs may reproduce stereotypes from everyday real life human-human<br/><br>
interaction, as well as from traditional visual media – but that they simultaneously<br/><br>
harbour a considerable potential to challenge stereotypes.<br/><br>
As a tool for the research community, a framework of a visual graphical design<br/><br>
space is proposed. The framework may scaffold the design of user evaluations,<br/><br>
which often are blurred by uncontrolled visually related variables. With regard to<br/><br>
weak user evaluations, the thesis furthermore argues that there is a problem with<br/><br>
user evaluations based upon the concept of ‘the User’, i.e. an averaged standardized<br/><br>
user. In order to reveal important correlations between agent characteristics<br/><br>
and user characteristics, it is often necessary to identify relevant subgroups of<br/><br>
users rather than to treat the whole user group as an ‘averaged user’.<br/><br>
And finally – virtual agents may have a not yet thought of potential as research<br/><br>
tools …},
  author       = {Haake, Magnus},
  isbn         = {978-91-628-7804-7},
  issn         = {1650-9773},
  keyword      = {masculinity,role modelling,cognitive styles,stereotypes,education,pedagogical implications,visual style,virtual characters,visual design,Virtual pedagogical agents,femininity,gender,androgynities},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {240},
  publisher    = {Institutionen för designvetenskaper, Lunds Tekniska Högskola, Lunds universitet},
  school       = {Lund University},
  title        = {Embodied Pedagogical Agents: From Visual Impact to Pedagogical Implications},
  year         = {2009},
}