Programming a Robot or an Avatar: A Study on Learning Outcomes, Motivation, and Cooperation

Rianne Van den Berghe*, Hans Petersen, Annika Hellendoorn, J. van Keulen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Robots have been found to be effective tools for programming instruction, although it is not yet clear why students learn more using robots as compared to receiving ‘traditional’ programming instruction. In this study, 121 nine- to twelve-year-old children received a programming training in pairs, in one of two conditions: using either a robot or a virtual avatar. The training was videotaped to study differences in children’s cooperation. Furthermore, children’s learning outcomes and motivation were assessed through questionnaires. Children were found to learn more from programming the robot than the avatar, although no differences in their cooperation during the training or self- reported motivation were found between the two conditions. Thus, future research is required to further understand how exactly robots lead to higher learning outcomes than ‘traditional’ tools.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCompanion of the 2020 ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI ’20 Companion)
Number of pages3
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4503-7057-8
Publication statusPublished - 2020
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction
ISSN (Electronic)2167-2148


  • Robot; Avatar; Children; Programming training; Learning outcomes; Motivation; Cooperation


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