|Research Interests Learning Companions Publications About Me|
Pedagogical Agents as Learning Companions (PALs)
Pedagogical agents as learning companions (PALs) are defined as computerized virtual peers to simulate human-peer interaction in computer-based learning environments. We have solid evidence for the positive impact of peer interaction on promoting learners’ intellectual, social, and emotional development. To emulate the impact, PALs are designed to look and function like virtual peers. I have been investigating PAL’s characteristics and constituents to facilitate PAL/learner interaction and, consequently, to make PAL-based environments more efficacious. These characteristics and constituents may include PALs’ competency, interaction type, gender, emotion, ethnicity, feedback type, and number.
Women/Gender Issues in STEM Education
Gender differences in motivation to learn science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) have become salient with recent concern about workforce imbalances in the fields of science and engineering. Many girls tend to hold beliefs that interfere with their learning of STEM and limit their pursuit of careers in those fields. These beliefs are attributable mainly to social and cultural influences of family, friends, and teachers. My research is focused on creating virtual learning environments more favorable for teenage girls.
Human/computer interaction can be social and natural, much like human- to-human interaction. I am interested in anthropomorphized and empathetic interfaces to make computing seamless.
Social Cognition/Social Modeling
Human cognition is formed in socio-cultural contexts. When an individual performs cognitive activities, the social tools, symbols, and contexts dynamically interact to expand his or her cognitive capabilities. I am inquiring into the socio-cultural factors that induce learners to exert greater or less efforts to reach their learning goals. I believe that teaching and learning are highly social activities and that interacting with others who are more or less capable may help advance a learner’s understanding. The presence of other individuals as social models can play an important role in motivation and learning.
Cognitive Science and Tutoring Systems
The nature of human intelligence and how it works have intrigued me, more specifically, how the human mind works to learn new things, to process information, to reason, to reach decisions, to solve problems, and most importantly, to adapt individuals to environmental challenges. Understanding those, we can design optimal guidance, adaptable to the learners’ needs. Top
Last Updated on Aug 2010