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Virtual interactive consulting agent to support freshman students in transition to higher education

  • Orly LahavEmail author
  • Vadim Talis
  • Rachel Gali Cinamon
  • Albert Rizzo
Article

Abstract

The virtual interactive consulting agent system is an online virtual career center that supports freshman students in transition to higher education. This virtual counseling system, based on accumulative empirical knowledge for working students and knowledge about effective career intervention, aims to guide first-year university students in combining study and work effectively. Three main aspects of career interventions are supplied by this virtual interactive consulting agent system: personal assessment, information, and personal encouragement and relatedness. The virtual interactive consulting agent is based on the SimCoach system. The current research includes two studies that examine acceptability and satisfaction from two perspectives: that of the counselors (the experts) and of the consultees (the target consumers). Both studies included 87 participants divided into two research groups: 45 counselors and 42 counseled freshman students. The data were collected through four data collection tools: acceptability and satisfaction questionnaire, an open-ended question, Google Docs, and screen recording applications. The participants’ answers were analyzed using quantitative software. The results show that the majority of the counselors were satisfied with the usability of the system but not with the process of counseling through the virtual agent, with some expressing concern about the impact on the profession. In contrast, most of the consultees were satisfied with the counseling process and some stated that the virtual agent helped them to determine how to integrate work and study more effectively.

Keywords

Higher education Career counseling Virtual reality Virtual human agent 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank our anonymous participants for their time, efforts, and ideas.

Funding

No funding was received.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

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Authors and Affiliations

  • Orly Lahav
    • 1
    Email author
  • Vadim Talis
    • 1
  • Rachel Gali Cinamon
    • 2
  • Albert Rizzo
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, The Constantiner School of EducationTel Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael
  2. 2.Department of Educational Counseling and Special Education, The Constantiner School of EducationTel-Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael
  3. 3.Institute for Creative TechnologiesUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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