From The Theme
LEARNING AND TRAINING
What if students could use interactive technologies to learn strategies by teaching them to a “teachable agent”?
WHAT WE SET OUT TO DO
With teachable agents, learners gain a deeper understanding of the subject matter through the process of teaching. We set out to examine the use of the teachable agent paradigm in the context of management training.
This research included basic empirical work on best practices for teaching strategy, as well as more subtle explorations of how to use considerations of strategy to teach basic concepts. The project also included work in computer science that explores how to best represent and visualize strategy knowledge. The final research issue was whether an agent that exhibits strategic behavior could increase attributions of agency and enhance learning. Specifically, we investigated if having the agent question or mildly disagree with the learner’s choices would constitute a marker of “agency”.
WHAT WE FOUND
Based on our research, we developed a new, simple environment for teachable agents in the context of case-based learning that could complement other efforts in case-based instruction. This environment included a teaching interface, in which learners could review a case scenario, identify key elements – (employee type and the problem condition), and propose a strategy. Learners would discuss their choices with the teachable agent, which would sometimes question the learner’s decision. We developed dialog, cases, and feedback for this environment. Finally, we generated a set of testable hypotheses about the effects of disagreement.
PEOPLE BEHIND THE PROJECT
Daniel Schwartz is Dean of Stanford Graduate School of Education and Nomellini & Olivier Professor of Educational Technology. He is an expert in human learning and educational technology. Schwartz oversees a laboratory whose computer-focused developments in science and math instruction permit original research into fundamental questions of learning. He has taught math in rural Kenya, English in south-central Los Angeles, and multiple subjects in Kaltag, Alaska. This diversity of experience informs his work. Among many honors, Schwartz was named Graduate School of Education Teacher of the Year for 2015.