The authors combined virtual reality technology and social robotics to develop a tutoring system that resembled a small-group arrangement. This tutoring system featured a virtual teacher instructing sight words, and included a humanoid robot emulating a peer. The authors used a multiple-probe design across word sets to evaluate the effects of the instructional package on the explicit acquisition and vicarious learning of sight words instructed to three children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and the robot peer. Results indicated that participants acquired, maintained, and generalized 100% of the words explicitly instructed to them, made fewer errors while learning the words common between them and the robot peer, and vicariously learned 94% of the words solely instructed to the robot.
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This work was supported in part by the National Science Foundation under Grant BRIGE-1228027. This study is based on a doctoral dissertation by Mohammad Nasser Saadatzi at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Louisville.
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Saadatzi, M.N., Pennington, R.C., Welch, K.C. et al. Small-Group Technology-Assisted Instruction: Virtual Teacher and Robot Peer for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. J Autism Dev Disord 48, 3816–3830 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10803-018-3654-2
- Autism spectrum disorder
- Virtual reality and pedagogical agents
- Social robotics
- Small-group instruction
- Observational learning
- Sight word instruction