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The use of animated software agents support in e-learning environments: An exploratory interpretive case study

Mahmood, AK 2005, The use of animated software agents support in e-learning environments: An exploratory interpretive case study , PhD thesis, Salford : University of Salford.

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    Abstract

    E-learning implementations have become an important agenda item for academic and business institutions as an enabler to complement their education and training needs. Many of the existing e-learning systems, however, present several limitations, such as being static and passive, and consisting of a time-consuming set of services, which suggest the need for more creativity, autonomy, and flexibility to the learner. The inclusion of animated software agent technology in e-leaming environments has been of growing interest aiming to encourage the learner to become more engaged and motivated. However, the empirical investigations on the effect of animated agents in teaching and learning have revealed diverse results in a continuum from animated software agents being helpful to them being distracting. The aim of this research study is to understand how the application of the animated software agents in e-learning environments could lead to effective learning, by identifying appropriate roles for animated agents in e-learning environments, when and for whom they would be useful and what use could they realistically be put to. Also: do social and cultural factors affect the interaction between the users and the animated agents? The research has been undertaken using a qualitative, interpretive approach with supporting case study data as the chosen research methodology. Thus, the contexts of action and the experiences of individuals in a single, real-life setting was considered, providing a complementary perspective to the existing studies. The approach highlights some methodological implications, which contribute to the development of methods and practice in this field. The research findings suggest that whilst the use of such animated agents has become more widespread there is no common framework for evaluating their utility for various types of e-leaming user. An analysis of the possible contributions to the effectiveness of teaching and learning based on a conceptual evaluation framework is presented. The resultant framework is useful for practitioners and researchers into courseware and animated agents development and provides guidelines for animated agents design and implementation in e-learning environments. Keywords: e-Leaming, animated software agent, learning effectiveness, interpretive case study.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Contributors: Ferneley, E(Supervisor)
    Additional Information:
    Schools: Colleges and Schools > College of Science & Technology > School of Computing, Science and Engineering
    Depositing User: Institutional Repository
    Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2012 14:34
    Last Modified: 19 Feb 2014 12:18
    URI: http://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/26792

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