Education 6615 Educational Software Prototyping & Evaluation

Mock-up of my prototype By Denise Forgeron


Background Information

What is an animated pedagogical agent?

An animated pedagogical agent is a computerized character (either humanlike or otherwise) designed to facilitate learning (Craig et al. 2002).  Fenton-Kerr et al. (1998) noted that these pedagogical software programs "make use of artificial intelligence approaches to provide timely, contextual help or instruction to a learner".   To fulfill these tasks, the agent may act as “a guide, a prompt, or provider of definitions or explanations of a procedure”.  Jaques et al. (2001) notes that pedagogical agents may be in the form of “personal assistant, animated characters that interact with the user, and cooperative agents”. 


Different modes of representation” may be used “to provide the most effective form of communication" (Fenton-Kerr et al. 1998). Presenting the information using two or more “perceptual modalities” (e.g. visual, auditory) describes multimedia learning (Craig et al.2002).  Evaluations showed that animated lifelike pedagogical agents can improve student performance and left a positive effect on student learners (Lester et al. 1997; Craig et al. 2002).


Craig, S.  Gholson, B. and D. Driscoll (2002). Animated Pedagogical Agents in Multimedia Educational Environments: Effects of Agent Properties, Picture Features, and Redundancy. Journal of  Educational Psychology. Vol. 94, No. 2, 428–434 Retrieved March 2004 from

Fenton-Kerr, T., Clark, S. Cheney, S. Cheney, G. Koppi, T & Chaloupka, M. 1998. Multi-agent design in flexible learning environments. Centre for New Technologies in Teaching & Learning University of Sydney, Australia, Retrieved January 2004,

Jaques, P., Andrade, A., Jung, J., Bordini, R. & Vicari, R. (2001). Using Pedagogical Agents to Support Collaborative Distance Learning. Retrieved January 2004,

Lester, J., Converse, S., Kahler, S., Barlow, T. Stone, B., Bhoga, R. & Gore, K. (1997). The Persona Effect: Affective Impact of Animated Pedagogical Agents. Retrieved January 2004,


What roles can an agent play?


Table 1.  Possible characteristics/possibilities with of animated pedagogical agents.




Facial Expressions


Verbal speech

Gestures for cueing










 Agents must make good first impressions since so many people seem to be aware of stereotypes.  The selection of an agent must also match the task.


This URL, gives an example of Peedy on a site.




The main text was examined thoroughly with weekly discussions using the following three books.

Cassell, J., Sullivan, J., Prevost, S. & Churchill, E. (2000). Embodied conversational agents. Cambridge Mass: MIT Press. Chapters:

Nudge Nudge Wink Wink: Elements of Face-to-Face Conversation for Embodied Conversational Agents

Justine Cassell


Human Conversation as a System Framework: Designing Embodied Conversational Agents

Justine Cassell, Tim Bickmore, Lee Campbell, Hannes Vilhjálmsson, and Hao Yan


Task-Oriented Collaboration with Embodied Agents in Virtual Worlds

Jeff Rickel and W. Lewis Johnson


Deictic and Emotive Communication in Animated Pedagogical Agents

James C. Lester, Stuart G. Towns, Charles B. Callaway, Jennifer L. Voerman, and Patrick J. FitzGerald


Emotion and Personality in a Conversational Agent

Gene Ball and Jack Bresse


The Automated Design of Believable Dialogues for Animated Presentation Teams

Elisabeth André, Thomas Rist, Susanne van Mulken, Martin Klesen, and Stephen Baldes


Designing and Evaluating Conversational Interfaces with Animated Characters

Sharon Oviatt and Bridget Adams


Forbus., K. & Feltovich, P. (2001). Smart machines in education. Cambridge Mass: MIT Press.


Mann, B. (Ed.). (2000). Perspectives in Web course management. Toronto: Canadian Scholar's Press.


Baylor, A. (2002). Expanding pre-service teachers' meta-cognitive awareness of instructional planning through pedagogical agents. Educational Technology Research and Development, 50(2), 5-22. Jan 17, 2004 from 
Mann, B., Cui, J. Adams, S and Schultz, H. (2003). Pedagogical agents in school: movement, modality & learning.  Journal of Educational Psychology.  Retrieved February 2004 from

Johnson, L. Shaw, E and R. Ganeshan (1998).  Pedagogical Agents on the Web.Center for Advanced Research in Technology for Education USC / Information Sciences Institute.  Retrieved February 2004 from





Audience for my prototype

Prototype:  A grade three lesson on plants using animated pedagogical agents.


A mock-up of the e-lesson pages goes with this design preparation and planning.


Pedagogical Design

Introduction with goals/objectives with text and visual/auditory agent

Instruction/ Lesson 1 Distinguish what makes something a plant

Sort Images/Examples

Review: Task-oriented directions/ Instant practice

Evaluate: Feedback/ Elaboration with help, etc.

Lesson 2 …what are the parts of a plant need?

Lesson 3..  what do plants need?

Lesson 4..grow plants


Reason for choosing this lesson:  I teach university students botany lab.  My daughter in grade three had to learn about plants this year in science.  I took the information she had to memorize and made a lesson with agents.  Dr. Mann approved the topic choice as a lesson on plants for grade 3.


Agent Profiles/Organization.

I decided to use Genie as an agent.  This is partly because my daughter seems to really like Genie.  After a conversation with my professor, Dr. Mann, I decided to give Genie a role as teacher.


I decided to use Peedy because it is a parrot (bird) and I will work with a lesson on plants – a natural environment for a bird.  In that realm, Peedy will could act as an expert and a tour guide. Due to my audience being young, I feel a cartoon character will be widely accepted.  I feel an animated creature will make my lesson more universal and diminish stereotypes.  After speaking with my professor, I decided to give Peedy the role of student.



 Students working in groups should be able to distinguish plants from other organisms.  This is possible because students are able to identify and label six parts of plants. The needs of plants are examined and knowledge is applied when the students maintain a terrarium.



1.      Distinguish plants from animals.

2.      Identify the parts of a plant (Plant Morphology).  These include root, stem, leaf, flower, fruit and seed.

3.      Understand what a plant needs; i.e. the function of roots, stems and leaves (Plant Physiology).

4.      Apply the knowledge to a plant experiment to maintain a terrarium.

  Models and Theories to Examine/Reflect/Include


Multimedia learning requires looking at the lesson from multiple perspectives.

Brenda Mergel describes learning theory and instructional design: behaviorism cognitivism, and constructivism

Behavioral components must be examined.  Positive reinforcements and encouraging comments may keep students engaged. Cognitive components such as hinting and partial answering should be included.  M.David Merrill defined the Component Display Theory (CDT).  Objectives need to be defined along with definitions, examples, practice, feedback and elaborations.  This is how Dr. Mann suggests we design the lesson.  It is easy to say this on paper, but harder to ensure it in practice. (;; March 5, 2004 from et al. (2000) tested the "hypothesis that animated pedagogical agents can promote constructivist learning in a discovery-based learning environment". 

Agents will provide challenges to multimedia interfaces.  Mayer’s theory – The cognitive theory of multimedia suggests six principles in multimedia learning (Craig et al.): 
split-attention- auditory, pictures, text may cause the learner to have to divide attention
·               modality- words should be spoken not written so there is no interference with pictoral information.
·               spatial contiguity- - learning is enhanced when text and pictures are integrated 
·                temporal-contiguity - learning is enhanced when text and pictures are used concurrently
·                coherence – visual and auditory channels are limited in capacity (Moreno and Mayer)
·                redundancy- spoken and printed text do not increase learning
The learning here is to direct the learner to the information and not at the agent.  Do not add abstract music or sound.
Moreno, R. and R. Mayer (2000).  A Learner-Centered Approach to Multimedia Explanations: Deriving Instructional Design Principles from Cognitive Theory. Retrieved March 2004, from

Moreno, R., Mayer, R. & Lester, J. 2000. Life-Like Pedagogical Agents in Constructivist Multimedia Environments: Cognitive Consequences of Their Interaction. Proceedings of the World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia, and Telecommunications (ED-MEDIA). Retrieved June 10, 2002,

My home page (Denise Forgeron),, has a link to a lesson on plants. 

The following agent text is found there.


Peedy.MoveTo PeedyLeftX, PeedyTopY

Peedy.Balloon.Style = &H21C000E


Peedy.Play "Acknowledge"

Peedy.Speak "Good " & GetTimeOfDay() & "!"

Peedy.Speak "My name is Peedy.  I am an animated pedagogical agent.  To see a lesson on plants, click on Home04, at your right at the bottom."

Peedy.GestureAt PeedyRightX, PeedyBottomY

Peedy.MoveTo PeedyCenterX, PeedyCenterY


Peedy.Speak "\mrk=1\"




The initial page for teachers/students to install agents consists of information, links and images.  No agent was used here.  If people are here they may not have the agent yet.


Identifying Plant Parts and Plant Needs
You will begin with distinguishing what features make something a plant. During this lesson, you will be asked to identify six plant parts.  You will also discover what plants need to live. You will use the internet and Power Point.  You will use email to send me some answers.  You will label and identify the parts of a plant and tell why they are important.  Finally, you will complete a science project where you get a plant to grow, remembering what you learned about the plant's needs.

What is an animated pedagogical agent and how can it help instruction?
Pedogogical agents are computer characters that provide visual gestures and auditory modes as they try to motivate and facilitate your learning. 

You need to download the Microsoft agents
Peedy peedy2.gif (3309 bytes)and Geniegenie2.gif (4488 bytes) from

Information for teachers.

You are now ready to enjoy a lesson on plants with two agents to assist you.

Click on here to begin.   

Contact Info:
MUN Edu 6615: 03/23/2004




The First Page Plan




Introduction – text /Objectives-

Instruction - by agents

Task-oriented directions

    Hint what makes a plant. Note:  Students existing knowledge of their world was called upon first.

    / Instant practice

Feedback/Help – possible through email

Parts of a plant begun to be examined

Resource Links:



Linked to:


There is a page attached to the prototype to give directios on how to sort diagrams.


Choose either A or B..

A. Create a poster on bristle board with a line of marker drawn vertically (top to bottom) to divide the poster in half. On one side write Animals and on the other side write Plants.   Draw these pictures, and some others, on the poster.  Put your name at the bottom.


B. Open a new Microsoft Word document and save it as yourname.plants.doc.  Create a table in the Microsoft Word document with two columns and one row. At the top of one column type Animals and at the top of second column type Plants. *Then minimize the file, leaving it open (at the bottom of the screen).  Right click on an image above and copy it.   Then, maximize your Microsoft Word file and right click in the correct column (animal or Plant). Click on paste with the left side of the mouse. Repeat from* until all 4 diagrams or sorted and you have distinguished which images are plants. Click on Save to save your file,  yourname.plants.doc.


The First page : Shown Below:



What Is  This Picture? 


[Image, BIODIDAC, MORI006P.jpg Monocotyledons Liliacae Trillium grandiflorum Only french description. Sorry!<br>Le trille grandiflore est une plante printannière d'érablière qui fleurit en mai dans le Parc de la Gatienau. Le trille grandiflore est une plante printannière d'érablière qui fleurit en mai dans le Parc de la Gatienau.]Credit:




Botany, the study of plant life, is important to grade 3 science. Plants are made of at least six structures.  Together, these six structures have jobs that make plants so important.

Your goal is to distinguish plants and identify what features make something a plant and describe the importance of plant parts.  You will then apply your knowledge to demonstrate plant parts are important as you experiment with a terrarium.

Plant Challenge:

1.            Sort these following images into two groups, plants and animals.  See this link to learn how.


Please email me
with your answer
or if you have trouble.



Please email me
with your answer
or if you have trouble.




    Genie.Balloon.Style = &H21C000E

    Genie.Play "Acknowledge"

    Genie.Speak "Good " & GetTimeOfDay() & "!"           

    Genie.MoveTo 420, 168

    Genie.GestureAt GenieLeftX, GenieCentreY

    Genie.Speak "Our first task is to distinguish between plants and animals."

 Genie.Speak "I will ask my student, Peedy the Parrot, to come here.  Peedy will you give us a hint, how you distinguish if this is a plant or an animal."

       Genie.Play "Process"

      Set Req = Genie.Show()


    WaitFor Req


      Peedy.MoveTo PeedyLeftX, PeedyTopY

    Peedy.Balloon.Style = &H21C000E

    Peedy.Play "Blink"

    Peedy.Speak "I know!  One thing that makes something a plant."

Peedy.Speak "I will give you a hint.  What is the white part of the picture?"

    Peedy.Play "LookDownLeftBlink"

      Peedy.GestureAt PeedyLeftX, PeedyCenterY   

    Peedy.Play "Blink"

    Peedy.Play "RestPose"

    Set Req = Peedy.Hide()


    WaitFor Req


    Genie.Balloon.Style = &H21C000E

       Genie.Speak "Thank you Peedy.  Now it is your turn."

      Genie.MoveTo GenieCenterX, GenieBottomY

Genie.Speak "I would like you to read this page and complete the challenge.   Examine the diagrams in the first challenge below."

Genie.Speak "Complete the Challenge and then, email or give me, your answer.”

       Set Req = Genie.Show()


    WaitFor Req




2nd interfacePlan:

Partial answer/feedback

Task-oriented directions/practice




Task-oriented directions

/ Instant practice


Elaboration with help, etc.


Some good resources for the Internet:

Resource Links:








The Second Page:

Partial Answer for Plant Challenge

Did you discover plants have roots, stems and leaves? 


There are at least three other major parts for plants.

Click here to begin.


Now can you remember them? Let’s check.

Print this sheet and label the parts.



Plants get energy from sunlight to make sugars and produce oxygen for us to breathe.  They use the carbon dioxide we breathe out and water from the environment when they make the sugar.  Each part of the plant has a certain job.  Do you know the job for each part? 

Plant Parts Challenge:

4.   Next I want you to find why each part is

      important to the plant. Click on each part

      and find its job (function).

Roots Stems Leaves

Flowers Seeds Fruits

5.             With your friends, sing this song about the parts of plants.

6.                   Print this sheet and see if you can complete it.  Give the sheet to me.


If you have any problems

Email me.


Click here to continue and find what plant parts we eat.



Click here to return to go back to the beginning of Plants





Move toControl fraChar,Genie



Genie.Balloon.Style = &H21C000E

Genie.MoveTo GenieRightX, GenieTopY

Genie.GestureAt GenieLeftX, GenieCentreY

Genie.Speak "Did you find three plant parts?"


Genie.Speak "Can you think of some others?"

Set Req = Genie.Hide()

WaitFor Req


Move(toControl fraChar,Genie);



Genie.Balloon.Style = 0x21C000E;

Genie.MoveTo(GenieRightX, GenieTopY);

Genie.GestureAt(GenieLeftX, GenieCentreY);

Genie.Speak("Did you find three plant parts?");


Genie.Speak("Can you think of some others?");

Req = Genie.Hide();





Peedy.Balloon.Style = 0x21C000E;

Peedy.MoveTo(PeedyRightX, PeedyTopY);

Peedy.MoveTo(428, 185);

Peedy.GestureAt(PeedyLeftX, PeedyBottomY);

Peedy.Speak("Click,  on the picture of the tree, to find the other parts.");


Peedy.Speak("You must scroll down to find why all the parts are important.");

Req = Peedy.MoveTo(PeedyRightX, PeedyBottomY);









Introduction with goals/objectives with text and visual/auditory agent

Instruction/ Lesson 3  what foods do we eat that are roots, stems, and leaves?

General Definitions



Review: Task-oriented directions/ Instant practice

Evaluate: Feedback/ Elaboration with help, etc.



Third page:

Answers for Plant Challenge

Challenge #3: Did you find plants have roots, stems, leaves, fruits, seeds and flowers? 

Challenge #4: Fruit was another plant part when you searched the information.



We eat fruits.  Did you notice the pictures on the fruit page (Fruits)? Some fruits that were on the fruits page were tomato, cucumber, lemon and pumpkin.  

Parts Challenge:

7.                   Make a poster of some roots, stems, leaves, fruits and seeds you eat.  You may create it on bristle board or on the computer.

8.                   Use this link to find more information.

9.                   You may draw pictures or save images from the Internet.  Be sure to identify the type of plant part.


I hope you had fun learning about plants.



If you have any problems

Email me.



Click here to return to go back to the beginning of Plants




Fourth page:

Roots, stems, leaves,

fruits and seeds we eat.


Plant Parts That We Eat Links:


What parts of a plant do we eat?


Edible Plants


Plants parts parents like to eat


Shopping list plants


Test your knowledge:


Take a quiz – make a salad


More songs to sing:


Plant songs

If you have any problems

Email me.

Click here to go back to the page with the Poster challenge.


Click here to return to go back to the beginning of Plants