Pedagogical Agents as Learning Companions: The Role of Agent Competency and Type of Interaction



This study was designed to examine the effects of the competency (low vs. high) and interaction type (proactive vs. responsive) of pedagogical agents as learning companions (PALs) on learning, self-efficacy, and attitudes. Participants were 72 undergraduates in an introductory computer-literacy course who were randomly assigned to one of four treatments: Low-Proactive, Low-Responsive, High-Proactive, and High-Responsive. Results indicated a main effect for PAL competency. Students who worked with the high-competency PAL in both proactive and responsive conditions achieved higher scores in applying what they had learned and showed more positive attitudes toward the PAL. However, students who worked with the low-competency PAL reported significantly enhanced self-efficacy beliefs in the learning tasks. Also, there was a main effect far PAL interaction type. A proactive PAL had a significantly positive impact on recall. These different results on learning and motivational outcomes suggest that the competency and interaction type of a PAL should be designed according to the desired learning and motivational goals.


pedagogical agents learning companioins human-computer interaction 


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Copyright information

© Association for Educational Communications and Technology 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Instructional TechnologyUtah State University, LoganUSA
  2. 2.Center for Research on Engaging Advanced Technology for Education (CREATE)USA
  3. 3.Department of Educational Psychology and Learning SystemsFlorida State UniversityUSA
  4. 4.Center for Research of Innovative Technologies for Learning (RITL)USA

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