The Effects of an Interactive Software Agent on Student Affective Dynamics while Using ;an Intelligent Tutoring System

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We study the affective states exhibited by students using an intelligent tutoring system for Scatterplots with and without an interactive software agent, Scooter the Tutor. Scooter the Tutor had been previously shown to lead to improved learning outcomes as compared to the same tutoring system without Scooter. We found that affective states and transitions between affective states were very similar among students in both conditions. With the exception of the "neutral state,” no affective state occurred significantly more in one condition over the other. Boredom, confusion, and engaged concentration persisted in both conditions, representing both "virtuous cycles” and "vicious cycles” that did not appear to differ by condition. These findings imply that - although Scooter is well liked by students and improves student learning outcomes relative to the original tutor - Scooter does not have a large effect on students' affective states or their dynamics.