Believers and Non-Believers: How Potential Users Respond to the Prospect of an Onscreen Learning Assistant

13 Pages Posted: 15 Feb 2013

See all articles by Chris Davies

Chris Davies

University of Oxford - Department of Education

Rebecca Eynon

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute

Date Written: February 13, 2013

Abstract

Studies have shown (e.g. Reeves and Nass, 1996; Veletsianos and Miller, 2008; Turkle, 2010) that humans are willing to treat electronic media artefacts of various kinds as real in certain situations. This study looks at this phenomenon with respect to interactions between human subjects and an onscreen embodied conversational agent (ECA), known as the Learning Companion, in order to explore the views of these people as to the viability of engaging in conversations about learning with such a device. 20 older adults, mostly retired, participated in this study where they engaged in experimental conversations with the Learning Companion about their interests, and about using the Internet. Findings suggest that there was a marked division within the sample, between those who did and those who did not consider the Learning Companion to be personable and credible as a conversation partner. There was a strong correlation in this respect between the educational backgrounds of the subjects, with the more academically self-confident being more resistant to the Learning Companion’s attempts to engage them in conversation than the less academically self-confident participants.

Keywords: Learning Companion, Adult learning, Internet, HCI

Suggested Citation

Davies, Chris and Eynon, Rebecca, Believers and Non-Believers: How Potential Users Respond to the Prospect of an Onscreen Learning Assistant (February 13, 2013). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2216677 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2216677

Chris Davies

University of Oxford - Department of Education ( email )

United Kingdom

Rebecca Eynon (Contact Author)

University of Oxford - Oxford Internet Institute ( email )

1 St Giles
Oxford, OX1 3JS
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.oii.ox.ac.uk

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