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Friday, May 14, 2021

Virtual Humor Agents to Promote Learning

Always liked the idea of using humor to promote engagement.  Used it a bit in our brand equity agents.  Here is another, somewhat more sophisticated approach.   See also work by Andrew Tarvin, colleague, who does interesting things in  this space.  You can see more about his work in the tag below. See also his book https://www.humorthatworks.com/  and related consulting.

Do Humorous Teachable Virtual Agents Enhance Learning, Outcomes?

University of Waterloo Cheriton School of Computer Science (Canada),  May 11, 2021

A study by researchers at the University of Waterloo in Canada considered whether a teachable virtual agent could improve learning and outcomes by employing humor when interacting with students. Using the online learning-by-teaching platform Curiosity Notebook, the researchers evaluated the impact of affiliative and self-defeating humor styles on the effectiveness of such an agent, as well as humor of a self-enhancing nature, and a neutral style in which no verbal humor was expressed. Waterloo's Jessy Ceha said, "We found that participants who interacted with the agent with an affiliative humor style showed an increase in motivation during the teaching task and an increase in the amount of effort they put into teaching the agent. The participants who interacted with the agent with a self-defeating style also showed an increase in effort, but they didn't find it as enjoyable an experience."  ...'

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