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educators program

Beyond Virtual Tutors: Semi-Autonomous Characters as Learning Companions


Wednesday, 3 August, 1 - 2:30 pm
Forum: Learning Games and Narrative
Room 502B

How do electronic interactive learning media support constructive learning beyond mere instruction and predefined exercises? This presentation considers the new technical possibilities of virtual interoperable characters as learning companions. Following a brief summary of state-of-the-art interactive storytelling issues that must be considered in the creative process, the presentation shows first experiences from two projects with different approaches that employ playful text-based conversations with graphical animated bots. The results lead to the (surprising) conclusion that the most significant learning process seemed to be achieved by active authors of the conversational dialogues. Beyond an instructive "virtual tutor" (primarily misunderstood as replacing a human educator), different metaphors are suggested that change some expectations for learning with virtual characters. As a result, learners will be viewed as authors who create and shape their own virtual companions.

Ulrike Spierling
Fachhochschule Erfurt, University of Applied Sciences
spierling (at) fh-erfurt.de
acm.org siggraph.org