An embodied conversational agent coach to support societal participation learning by low-literate users

Dylan G.M. Schouten*, Agnes A. Deneka, Mariët Theune, Mark A. Neerincx, Anita H.M. Cremers

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Abstract

People of low literacy could benefit from automated support when learning about societal participation. We design an Embodied Conversational Agent (ECA) ‘coach’ that can provide effective learning support to low-literate learners, develop a prototype virtual learning environment, and evaluate this prototype with low-literate end users. First, we inventory the learning support benefits of ECA coaching. Second, we update existing requirements to better specify functional demands for the coach ECA. Third, we write use cases and develop the prototype. Finally, we evaluate the prototype with low-literate users in a mixed-method within-subjects experiment. Results show that the coach influences the subjective learning experience: Participants report higher positive affect, higher user-system engagement, and increased self-efficacy regarding online banking. These results particularly apply to the domain of challenging information skills exercises. Caveats apply: One of four exercises was significantly more difficult than the other three; and coach support rules were not clearly formalized.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages27
JournalUniversal Access in the Information Society
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Embodied conversational agents
  • Low literacy
  • Requirements engineering
  • Societal participation
  • Socio-cognitive engineering
  • Virtual learning environment

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