Museums and the Web 2005
Interactions: Description
Photo Credits

More than just papers, MW2005 offers a chance for dialogue.

The PECA Code: Codifying Pedagogy in 3D Virtual Instructors

Jayfus Doswell, George Mason University, USA

Mini-Workshop: Pedagogy in 3D

The Pedagogical Embodied Conversational Agent (PECA) is an 'artificially intelligent' computer 3D graphic, animated character that teaches from computer simulated environments and naturally interacts with human end-users. What distinguishes a PECA from the traditional virtual instructor or pedagogical agent is the PECA's knowledge of empirically evaluated pedagogical techniques and learning theories that it utilizes for enhancing human learning performance. It combines this 'art and science' of instruction understanding with knowledge of domain based facts, culture, and the individual learner in order to (1) facilitate a more personalized learning experience and (2) improve its own instructional capabilities. However, equally challenging as engineering a realistically behaving 3D character in a computer simulated environment is the challenge of enhancing it with defined pedagogical rules and knowledge of human learning capabilities across cultures. Hence, the key to successful use of PECAs as an instructional tool is the ability to integrate codified instructional techniques, knowledge of how humans learn, and information about the learner interacting with the PECA. This is especially true in museum environments where visitors may vary in their culture, socio-economics, language, and physical capabilities. The task for PECA then is to define these differences and to present the same museum content to a multicultural, multilingual population, while giving consideration to individual learning styles and perception. This paper presents the state of PECA research, a software architectural approach for addressing key challenges researchers face in integrating pedagogical and learning theory knowledge into PECAs, and an examination of the actual and potential use of PECAs in museum environments. The PECA project is a research initiative conducted by Jayfus Doswell, PH.D candidate, at George Mason University in the USA.