When Off-Task is On-Task: The Affective Role of Off-Task Behavior in Narrative-Centered Learning Environments


Jennifer Sabourin, Jonathan P. Rowe, Bradford W. Mott and James C. Lester

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Off-task behavior is the subject of increasing interest in the AI in Education community. This paper reports on an investigation of the role of off-task behavior in narrative-centered learning environments by examining its interactions with student learning gains and affect. Results from an empirical study of students interacting with the CRYSTAL ISLAND environment indicate that off-task behavior generally has negative impacts on learning. However, further analyses of students’ affective transitions suggest that some students may be using off-task behavior as a strategy to regulate negative emotions.


Narrative-centered learning environments, off-task behavior, affect.