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Augmenting Game-Based Learning with a Robot Tutee

Conference paper
Authors Lena Pareto
Sara Ekström
Wolmet Barendregt
Sofia Serholt
Svea Kiesewetter
Published in European Conference on Games Based Learning (ECGBL)
Publisher Academic Conferences and Publishing International
Place of publication United Kingdom
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Applied Information Technology (GU)
Language en
Keywords robot tutee, teachable agent, educational game, game-based learning, co-design
Subject categories Robotics, Educational Sciences, Human Computer Interaction


This paper presents the initial design of an educational setup where a humanoid robot is used as a game companion to a child while they play an educational arithmetic game together. Drawing on the learning-by-teaching paradigm, the robot’s purpose is to act as the child’s tutee and ask questions related to gameplay and the arithmetic content of the game. The original version of the game utilized a virtual teachable agent, which was shown to be effective for children’s learning in previous studies. Here we replace the virtual agent with a social robot to explore if and how the embodiment and social-like behaviour of robots can augment game-based learning further. Our aim is to design a robot tutee that will enhance the game experience and stimulate elaboration of the game’s learning material. So far we have conducted two design workshops with 81 schoolchildren in grades 2 and 4 where they experienced the robot and the game in their classrooms. In this paper, we present the results of two post-workshop questionnaires, where the children were asked about desired behaviour for learning companions and their experiences with the robot as a game playing tutee. The first post-workshop questionnaire revealed that children would like to have a robot tutee that behaves as a kind and helpful human peer, but with improved capacities such as being kind to everyone, providing better explanations, and giving more compliments. The second post-workshop questionnaire revealed that the children accepted the tutor–tutee role-division and that a majority of children were able to hear, but less so, understand, the robot’s questions. Implications of these findings for design of the robot tutee are discussed.

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