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e-Learning and the Science of Instruction by Richard E. Mayer, Ruth C. Clark

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CHAPTER 9 Applying the Personalization and Embodiment Principles Use Conversational Style, Polite Wording, Human Voice, and Virtual Coaches

CHAPTER SUMMARY

Some e-learning lessons rely on a formal style of writing to present information, direct wording for feedback and advice, and machine synthesized voices to deliver the words. In this chapter we summarize the empirical evidence that supports the personalization principle—i.e., that people learn better when e-learning environments use a conversational style of writing or speaking (including using first- and second-person language), polite wording for feedback and advice, and a friendly human voice. We also explore preliminary evidence for how to use on-screen pedagogical agents, focusing on the role of human-like embodiment. In particular, the embodiment principle is that people learn better from online agents that use human-like gesture and movement.

Since the previous edition of this book, new evidence has emerged concerning the role of politeness in on-screen agents’ feedback and hints and the role of human-like gestures by the on-screen agent. Another important advance has been the establishment of boundary conditions which specify when the personalization principle is most likely to be effective–such as the finding that in some cases personalization works best for less experienced learners and when the amount of personalization is modest enough to not detract from the lesson.

The personalization and embodiment principles ...

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