Experimentally Augmenting an Intelligent Tutoring System with Human-Supplied Capabilities: Adding Human-Provided Emotional Scaffolding to an Automated Reading Tutor that Listens

June 1, 2002


G. Aist, B. Kort, R. Reilly, Rosalind W. Picard, J. Mostow


This paper presents the first statistically reliable empirical evidence from a controlled study for the effect of human-provided emotional scaffolding on student persistence in an intelligent tutoring system. We describe an experiment that added human-provided emotional scaffolding to an automated Reading Tutor that listens, and discuss the methodology we developed to conduct this experiment. Each student participated in one (experimental) session with emotional scaffolding, and in one (control) session without emotional scaffolding, counterbalanced by order of session. Each session was divided into several portions. After each portion of the session was completed, the Reading Tutor gave the student a choice: continue, or quit. We measured persistence as the number of portions the student completed. Human-provided emotional scaffolding added to the automated Reading Tutor resulted in increased student persistence, compared to the Reading Tutor alone. Increased persistence means increased time on task, which ought lead to improved learning. If these results for reading turn out to hold for other domains too, the implication for intelligent tutoring systems is that they should respond with not just cognitive support – but emotional scaffolding as well. Furthermore, the general technique of adding human-supplied capabilities to an existing intelligent tutoring system should prove useful for studying other ITSs too. Keywords: emotional scaffolding, affective computing, guided oral reading, intelligent tutoring systems.

Related Content