Persistent Effects of Social Instructional Dialog in a Virtual Learning Environment


Amy Ogan, Vincent Aleven, Christopher Jones, and Julia Kim

Paper type: 
Full paper
1. 11:00-12:30, Wednesday 29 June


Interactions between learners and pedagogical agents may take on a more or less social tone, dependent on many possible factors. We investigate the effects of manipulating agent dialog on learner-agent interpersonal relations, which is hypothesized to promote learning. We have implemented our model of social instructional dialog (SID) in an agent in a virtual learning environment for instructing intercultural interactions. SID is designed to support students in taking a social orientation towards learning, through the use of conversational strategies that are theorized to produce positive interpersonal effects. This paper reports on the results of an empirical study (N=60) comparing SID to a corresponding task informational dialog (TID) model without these social features. We found that the SID model had significant positive effects on learners’ entitativity, shared perspective, and trust with the agent. Moreover, these effects transferred to other non-SID based agents in the environment. We discuss how these findings may impact development of dialog for future agents.


virtual agents, instructional dialog, social outcomes, trust, entitativity