International Journal of Social Robotics

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 293–308 | Cite as

Comparing Robot Embodiments in a Guided Discovery Learning Interaction with Children

  • James Kennedy
  • Paul Baxter
  • Tony Belpaeme


The application of social robots to the domain of education is becoming more prevalent. However, there remain a wide range of open issues, such as the effectiveness of robots as tutors on student learning outcomes, the role of social behaviour in teaching interactions, and how the embodiment of a robot influences the interaction. In this paper, we seek to explore children’s behaviour towards a robot tutor for children in a novel guided discovery learning interaction. Since the necessity of real robots (as opposed to virtual agents) in education has not been definitively established in the literature, the effect of robot embodiment is assessed. The results demonstrate that children overcome strong incorrect biases in the material to be learned, but with no significant differences between embodiment conditions. However, the data do suggest that the use of real robots carries an advantage in terms of social presence that could provide educational benefits.


Social robotics Embodiment Human–robot interaction Child–robot interaction Child learning 



This research was partially funded by the EU FP7 ALIZ-E Project (FP7-ICT-248116), the FP7 DREAM project (FP7-ICT-611391) and the School of Computing and Maths, Plymouth University. The authors would like to thank Salisbury Road Primary School in Plymouth, U.K. for hosting the study. Gratitude also goes to Robin Read who provided assistance conducting the experiment, and to John Radnor and Marina Khalil for second coding of the videos.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Robotics and Neural Systems, Cognition InstitutePlymouth UniversityPlymouthUK

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