Conversational agents and their longitudinal affordances on communication and interaction
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In this study, we investigate the effects of conversational agents on communication and interaction when used to assist participants in developing an online portfolio. Data from 52 participants were gathered and analyzed through questionnaires, written reflections, transcripts of student-agent interactions, and focus groups. Data revealed that participants communicated with the agents on issues ranging from portfolio development to popular culture. Although participants did not view the agents as particularly helpful in completing class activities, they did use them as social companions throughout the four-week study. Implications of the findings for future design and research include: (a) learner-developed conversational agents, (b) improved “intelligence” with which agents deliver content-based knowledge, and (c) further developed virtual characters that can meet users’ humanistic and utilitarian expectations.
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