Three different modes of avatars as virtual lecturers in e-learning interfaces: a comparative usability study

Alseid, Marwan and Rigas, Dimitrios (2010) Three different modes of avatars as virtual lecturers in e-learning interfaces: a comparative usability study. The Open Virtual Reality Journal, 2 (1). pp. 8-17. ISSN 1875-323X

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Most of recent e-learning applications are predominantly based on textual and graphical metaphors to communicate the learning material in its user interfaces. Previous research demonstrated that incorporating both visual and auditory sensory channels in the interaction with e-learning interfaces could enhance the usability and users’ learning performance. Also, the presence of humanoid virtual lecturers in e-learning interfaces was found to be attractive for e-learners. This paper describes an empirical evaluation of three different modes for the employment of speaking avatars as virtual pedagogical agents in a multimodal-based e-learning. This study aimed at comparing the usability aspects (efficiency, effectiveness and user satisfaction) as well as learning performance of three different e-learning platforms recruited to present three common lessons about class diagram notation. The first platform involved talking head of facially expressive avatar while the second platform used a full-body animated one. However, the third tested e-learning platform was based on talking heads of tow facially expressive virtual lectures; male and female who shared the presentation of the learning material. In total, 48 users participated in the experiment to test the three platforms in a within-subject design. Results of the experiment showed that the inclusion of speaking virtual lecturer with full body gestures was the most efficient in terms of question answering time, most effective in terms of correctly answered questions, and the most satisfactory as opposed to the other tow investigated e-learning platforms. Experimental results also revealed that using facially expressive avatars either singularly or coupled with female one scored similar levels of usability and learning performance.

Item Type: Article
Identifier: 10.2174/1875323X01002010008
Additional Information: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted, non-commercial use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.
Subjects: Education
Depositing User: Rod Pow
Date Deposited: 17 Sep 2014 10:47
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2024 15:42


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