An empathic avatar in a computer-aided learning program to encourage and persuade learners

Gwo Dong Chen, Jih Hsien Lee, Chin Yeh Wang*, Po Yao Chao, Liang Yi Li, Tzung Yi Lee

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Animated pedagogical agents with characteristics such as facial expressions, gestures, and human emotions, under an interactive user interface are attractive to students and have high potential to promote students' learning. This study proposes a convenient method to add an embodied empathic avatar into a computer-aided learning program; learners express their emotions by mouse-clicking while reading, and the avatar motivates them accordingly. This study designs empathic responses for avatars to encourage and persuade learners to make greater reading effort. This experiment examines emotional recognition, empathy transformation, and the effect of virtual human encouragement and persuasion. Subjects identify facial expressions of the avatar, especially those expressing positive facial emotions. Compared to the contrast group, the empathic avatar increases learners' willingness to continue reading and complete exercises.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-72
Number of pages11
JournalEducational Technology and Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Animated pedagogical agent
  • Computer-aided learning
  • Empathy
  • Encourage
  • Persuade

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Engineering


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