Teachable agents and design-based research
Another blog post from 35,000 feet, but for a shorter flight, this time to Cyprus. I am spending my time working on a proposal for a book chapter that is to be co-authored with my Swedish colleagues, Agneta, Magnus, Annika, and Bjorn. This chapter discusses how to best design conversational pedagogical agents, in the context of “teachable agents.” Specifically, we are using a design-based research (DBR) approach to discuss how we are addressing the pedagogical agent challenges identified in the literature. This is the first time I am working with teachable agents and I am quite excited about the possibilities. Teachable agents are those that are able to be taught by the learner, and are an example of what Jonassen called cognitive tools in work he has done in the 90’s. Instead of the agent being the domain expert and teaching the “novice learner,” the perspective taken here is one where the agent (or, the Artificial Intelligence engine) is treated as a novice and the learner is treated as someone who has valuable knowledge to contribute. This work occurs in the context of a web-based game, which gives us the ability to play with quite a few parameters relating to the relationship between agents-learners. More about this soon!