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Students' Experiences of Emotional Connection with Pedagogical Agents

Students' Experiences of Emotional Connection with Pedagogical Agents
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Author(s): Maggi Savin-Baden (Coventry University, UK), Gemma Tombs (Coventry University, UK), Roy Bhakta (Coventry University, UK) and David Burden (Daden Ltd, UK)
Copyright: 2015
Pages: 12
Source title: Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, Third Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch131

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Abstract

Online chatbots (also known as pedagogical agents or virtual assistants) are becoming embedded into the fabric of technology, both in educational and commercial settings. Yet understanding of these technologies is inchoate and often untheorised, influenced by individuals' willingness to trust technologies, aesthetic appearance of the chatbot and technical literacy, among other factors. This paper draws upon data from two research studies that evaluated students' experiences of using pedagogical agents in education using responsive evaluation. The findings suggest that emotional connections with pedagogical agents were intrinsic to the user's sense of trust and therefore likely to affect levels of truthfulness and engagement. They also indicate that the topic of the pedagogical agent-student interaction is key to the student's experience. The implications of these studies are that truthfulness, personalisation and emotional engagement are all vital components in using pedagogical agents to enhance online learning.

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