Gender Matters: The Impact of Animated Agents on Students’ Affect, Behavior and Learning

 

Technical report UM-CS-2010-020. Computer Science Department, UMASS Amherst

We report on the reactions of males and females to the presence of animated agents that provided emotional or motivational feedback. One hundred (100) high school students used agents embedded in an Intelligent Tutoring System for Mathematics and randomized controlled evaluations compared students with and without learning companions. Positive results indicate that affective pedagogical agents can improve affective outcomes of students in general and particularly so for female students, who reported being more frustrated and less confident while solving math problems prior to using the tutoring system. We discuss issues of incorporating gender into user models and of generating responses tailored to gender.