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Title page for ETD etd-11072003-170134

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Holmes, Jeffrey Thomas Grant
URN etd-11072003-170134
Title Learning by explaining: the effects of software agents as learning partners
Degree PhD
Department Teaching and Learning
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Robert D. Sherwood Committee Chair
  • learning by explaining
  • agents
  • educational technology
  • explanations
  • virtual worlds
Date of Defense 2003-09-24
Availability unrestricted
Although prior research as shown that generating explanations encourages students to learn new content with deeper understanding and to monitor their own comprehension more effectively, helping students learn how to explain properly remains a significant challenge. This study investigated the use of software agents as learning partners in an activity where students generated explanations about river ecosystem concepts.

The results of the experiment demonstrated that software agents can have a positive impact as learning partners in a virtual world environment. It was found that the agents encouraged the use of explanation resources designed to help students generate more effective explanations. Students working with the agents generated deeper explanations than students who did not interact with an agent. A summary report of student explanations produced for the participating teacher was perceived to be a useful source of feedback.

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