Educational Technology Research and Development

, Volume 60, Issue 5, pp 723–751 | Cite as

A teachable-agent-based game affording collaboration and competition: evaluating math comprehension and motivation

  • Lena Pareto
  • Magnus Haake
  • Paulina Lindström
  • Björn Sjödén
  • Agneta GulzEmail author
Research Article


This paper presents an educational game in mathematics based on an apprenticeship model using a teachable agent, as well as an evaluative study of how the game affects (1) conceptual understanding and (2) attitudes towards mathematics. In addition, we discuss how collaborative and competitive affordances of the game may affect understanding and motivation. 19 students played the game in pairs once a week during math lessons for 7 weeks (the game-playing group) while another 19 students followed the regular curriculum (the control group). Math comprehension scores increased significantly for the game-playing group but not the control group (p < 0.05). However, there was no significant difference in attitude change between the two groups. Post hoc analyses indicated that game-playing primarily affected students’ confidence in explaining math to a peer, but not their enjoyment of doing so. Collaborative and competitive activities seem to carry a strong motivational influence for students to play the game.


Conceptual understanding Educational games Motivation Teachable agents Collaboration Competition 



Parts of the funding for the presented research comes from Wallenberg Global Learning Foundation (WGLN) and parts from Linköping University, Sweden.


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Copyright information

© Association for Educational Communications and Technology 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lena Pareto
    • 1
  • Magnus Haake
    • 2
  • Paulina Lindström
    • 3
  • Björn Sjödén
    • 3
  • Agneta Gulz
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Design and MediaUniversity WestTrollhattanSweden
  2. 2.Department of Design Sciences, Faculty of EngineeringLund UniversityLundSweden
  3. 3.Lund University Cognitive ScienceLundSweden

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