Benefits Seen for Students Teaching Virtual Pupils
Scientists Say Their 'Teachable Agents' Seem to Spur Effort, Motivation
Educators have long held that peer tutoring can help students learn, and emerging research on students working with computer characters points to one possible reason why: Teaching begets learning for the teachers.
Researchers at Stanford University’s AAA Lab and Vanderbilt University’s Teachable Agents Group call it the “protégé effect,” which posits that students will work harder, reason better, and ultimately understand more by learning to teach someone else—even a virtual “teachable agent”—than they will when learning for themselves.
Being social is a frame of mind, said Daniel Schwartz, the director of the Palo Alto, Calif.-based AAA Lab, a social and cognitive learning research center. “These kids know these characters aren’t alive, but they get engaged with the narrative and play pretend, and it brings out a lot of...
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