An Evolutionary Approach to Prototyping Pedagogical Agents: From Simulation to Integrated System

Abstract : We have developed and integrated software agents with two educational groupware systems (TeamWave Workplace and FLE), using evolutionary prototyping and empiricalbased design as development techniques. The resulting prototypes of pedagogical agents (CoPAS, SA-Agent and RuleEditor) provide learners and teachers with increasingly domain-specific support for distributed collaborative learning activities. Employing the evolutionary approach has enabled us to build and evaluate early prototypes of complex systems with cost-effective techniques and involving users in this process helped us to constrain the design space and direct further development. CoPAS is a simulation experiment carried out with the Wizard-of-Oz technique, SA-Agent is a pedagogical agent integrated with an open-source learning environment, and RuleEditor is a customizer for the SA-Agent. The agents collect statistical information on user activity and analyze that information based on principles of collaboration and knowledge building. The results are presented as advice in the user interface of the learning environments to promote students' reflection on their collaboration and knowledgebuilding activities. If instructors disagree about the phrasing of the advice or the frequency of intervention, they can change it using the RuleEditor agent customizer.
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Anders I. Mørch, Jan A. Dolonen, Jan Eirik B. Nævdal. An Evolutionary Approach to Prototyping Pedagogical Agents: From Simulation to Integrated System. Journal of Network and Computer Applications, Elsevier, 2006, 29(2-3), pp.177-199. ⟨hal-00190296⟩

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