VIRTUAL HUMANS IN EDUCATION: SOME IMPLEMENTATIONS FROM RESEARCH STUDIES
Università della Calabria (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: EDULEARN11 Proceedings
Publication year: 2011
Conference name: 3rd International Conference on Education and New Learning Technologies
Dates: 4-6 July, 2011
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Abstract:The benefits of agent presence in computer based learning environments have been analyzed in many studies. In particular, in the field of education, virtual characters have received special consideration because of their potential in terms of nonverbal communication and social relations (both important aspects of a good human teacher).
The aim of this paper is to present some educational virtual humans ideated by Evolutionary Systems Group at University of Calabria (Italy): 1) Talking Heads that students can easily model and animate thanks to the software Face3D; 2) ancient Magno-Greek people that users can meet in a virtual tour in an ancient Italian region of the VIII century B. C. (the system has been created in the “NetConnect” Culture2000 project); 3) the characters of a movie on Chaos and Theory of Complexity.
Using these virtual characters as teachers, we have realized three lessons regarding scientific/literature topics and compared students’ learning with that of lessons carried out by a “real” teacher. Results have been very positive; moreover, an acceptance study has shown the teaching potentiality of these characters. Finally, in open questions students have declared to prefer interactive agents endowed with specific emotional characteristics and able to show multimedia documentation.