Students' experiences of emotional connection with pedagogical agents

Maggi Savin-Baden, Gemma Tombs, Roy Bhakta, D. Burden

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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Online chatbots (also known as pedagogical agents or virtual assistants) are becoming embedded into the fabric of technology, both in educational and commercial settings. Yet understanding of these technologies is inchoate and often untheorised, influenced by individuals' willingness to trust technologies, aesthetic appearance of the chatbot and technical literacy, among other factors. This paper draws upon data from two research studies that evaluated students' experiences of using pedagogical agents in education using responsive evaluation. The findings suggest that emotional connections with pedagogical agents were intrinsic to the user's sense of trust and therefore likely to affect levels of truthfulness and engagement. They also indicate that the topic of the pedagogical agent-student interaction is key to the student's experience. The implications of these studies are that truthfulness, personalisation and emotional engagement are all vital components in using pedagogical agents to enhance online learning.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, Third Edition
EditorsM. Khosrow-Pour
Place of PublicationHershey, PA
PublisherIGI Global
ISBN (Print)9781466658899, 9781466658882
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

This chapter appears in the Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, 3rd Edition edited by Mehdi Khosrow-Pour. Copyright 2010, IGI Global, Posted by permission of the publisher.


  • chatbots
  • pedagogical agents
  • virtual assistants
  • online learning
  • pedagogy


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