Grandfathers, cogs and goop: learner choices for designs of companion agents

ID: 38886 Type: Full Paper: Conceptual & Empirical Study
  1. Mark Childs, Coventry University, United Kingdom
  2. Anna Peachey, Eygus Ltd, United Kingdom
  3. Elizabeth Jackson, Ravensbourne College, United Kingdom
  4. Philip Hall, Elzware Ltd, United Kingdom

Tuesday, June 25 5:45 PM-6:15 PM Location: Oak Bay 1 View on map

Presider: Lyra Logan, Florida Education Fund, United States

Abstract: “The Shift” is a project that aims to provide a participatory online learning environment and aspect of which an online embodied companion agent or “bot". This paper presents the findings of workshops with potential users of the system to identify the preferred appearance and functionality for this. In later workshops, the products of the design workshops were presented and learners asked to rate these and respond to the different suggestions for functionality. The findings revealed a range of attitudes towards both appearance realism and behavioral realism in bots. The response to highly anthropomorphic appearance was one of high resistance, participants describing the nature of the agent in terms that match the literature’s discussions of “the uncanny”. Realistic behaviour such as personality produced a strongly positive response. The learners therefore preferred realism but not anthropomorphism and these are often blurred together in the literature.


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