DESIGNING A VIRTUAL LEARNING COACH FOR SUPPORT OF DIGITAL LITERACY OF SENIOR LEARNERS IN CONTEXT OF THE ELECTRONIC HEALTH RECORD. DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS IN THE EPA-COACH PROJECT
Beuth Hochschule für Technik Berlin (GERMANY)
About this paper:
Conference name: 13th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 9-10 November, 2020
Location: Online Conference
Abstract:Digital literacy and digital sovereignty in dealing with digital technologies and data are important conditions for the participation of elderly people in modern societies. The demographic change towards ageing societies together with the rapid developments in information technologies have created new challenges for digital literacy. In some countries, like Germany, the increase in the proportion of elderly people has called for new approaches to promoting digital literacy among senior learners with focus on the demands of specific fields such as healthcare. Some of the recent developments in the field of healthcare include the introduction of an electronic health record (German: Patientenakte, ePA), which enables to electronically collect, manage and share health-related data, including demographics, medical history, laboratory test results and medication. Statutory health insurance funds in Germany have to provide policyholders with electronic health records from 1st January 2021 onwards. The ePA aims to become a central element of the healthcare system, which is a highly complex and highly differentiated network and telematics infrastructure with more than 200,000 institutions and professional groups. This means that senior citizens have to deal with a large number of different institutions and highly diverse health-related data. In view of the electronic health record, the informational autonomy and digital sovereignty of senior citizens becomes crucial. The ePA-Coach project addresses this challenge and aims to develop an coaching-based e-learning system for senior learners to enhance their digital literacy against the background of the electronic health record (ePA). In this context, digital literacy goes beyond the basic understanding of information technologies and encompasses skills needed to exercise informational self-determination with regard to the storage, transmission and processing of personal health data.
In this paper we describe the approach to designing a virtual learning coach (pedagogical agent) as part of the e-learning system for digital literacy of senior learners. Pedagogical agents are characters in multimedia learning environments used to facilitate learning. Research suggests that pedagogical agents may have a significant impact on learning outcomes and make more engaging and effective. The paper starts with the review of literature and research in designing pedagogical agents including such approaches as pedagogical agents as learning companions (PALs), Embodied Conversational Agents (ECAs) and Animated pedagogical agents (APAs). Based on the review, we summarise specific requirements and success factors for designing pedagogical agents for senior learners to support the development of digital literacy. In the next part of the paper we present design options and considerations for designing a virtual learning coach as part of the e-learning system in the ePA-Coach project including visual style, communicative style, social style and pedagogical role. We discuss how specific theories and concepts may support various instructional and interactional functions of a virtual learning coach. We conclude with next steps in research and development in the ePA-Coach project and recommendations for further research in the area.
Keywords: Virtual learning coach, pedagogical agent, senior learners, digital literacy, electronic health records.