The Mars and Venus Effect: The Influence of User Gender on the Effectiveness of Adaptive Task Support
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Providing adaptive support to users engaged in learning tasks is the central focus of intelligent tutoring systems. There is evidence that female and male users may benefit differently from adaptive support, yet it is not understood how to most effectively adapt task support to gender. This paper reports on a study with four versions of an intelligent tutoring system for introductory computer programming offering different levels of cognitive (conceptual and problem-solving) and affective (motivational and engagement) support. The results show that female users reported significantly more engagement and less frustration with the affective support system than with other versions. In a human tutorial dialogue condition used for comparison, a consistent difference was observed between females and males. These results suggest the presence of the Mars and Venus Effect, a systematic difference in how female and male users benefit from cognitive and affective adaptive support. The findings point toward design principles to guide the development of gender-adaptive intelligent tutoring systems.
KeywordsGender effects Adaptive support Intelligent tutoring systems Affect Engagement Frustration
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