Now We’re Talking: Learning by Explaining Your Reasoning to a Social Robot

Frances M. Wijnen, Daniel Patrick Davison, Dennis Reidsma, Jan van der Meij, Vasiliki Charisi, Vanessa Evers

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This article presents a study in which we explored the effect of a social robot on the explanatory behavior of children (aged 6--10) while working on an inquiry learning task. In a comparative experiment, we offered children either a baseline Computer Aided Learning (CAL) system or the same CAL system that was supplemented with a social robot to verbally explain their thoughts to. Results indicate that when children made observations in an inquiry learning context, the robot was better able to trigger elaborate explanatory behavior. First, this is shown by a longer duration of explanatory utterances by children who worked with the robot compared to the baseline CAL system. Second, a content analysis of the explanations indicated that children who worked with the robot included more relevant utterances about the task in their explanation. Third, the content analysis shows that children made more logical associations between relevant facets in their explanations when they explained to a robot compared to a baseline CAL system. These results show that social robots that are used as extensions to CAL systems may be beneficial for triggering explanatory behavior in children, which is associated with deeper learning.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5
JournalACM Transactions on Human-Robot Interaction
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


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