Motivating agents in software tutorials

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32 Citations (Scopus)


Pedagogical agents can provide important support for the user in human–computer interaction systems. This paper examines whether a supplementary, motivating agent in a print tutorial can enhance student motivation and learning in software training. The agent served the role of motivator, attending the students to issues of task relevance and self-efficacy. The agent was presented in the tutorial by means of images and written messages. An experiment compared the agent condition with a no-agent (control) condition. Participants were 49 students (mean age 11.3 years) from the upper grades of elementary school. Data on motivation and learning were gathered before, during and after training. The findings revealed that students in the agent condition did significantly better on skills measures during and after training (i.e., performance indicators, posttest, and retention test). In addition, marginally significant differences favoring these students were found for flow experience during training and for motivational gains on task relevance and self-efficacy after training. The design strategies of the motivating agent are considered relevant for the creation of Animated Pedagogical Agents.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)845-857
Number of pages13
JournalComputers in human behavior
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • IR-88531
  • METIS-300472


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