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Pedagogical agents can be defined as an embodied visual presentation that can facilitates learning in computer based application. Their implementation in educational technology has received a positive reaction from many researchers. It has been reported as a great tool to enhance teaching and learning (Valetsioanos and Miller, 2008) and their influence can be seen from a variety effects on learning outcomes. According to Moreno (2004), pedagogical agent (PA) promotes users’ learning, such as gaining students’ attention in an interactive multimedia environment, by providing immediate feedback, reflection and elaborate cues which lead to active learning. For example, learner exposed to PA has been reported to demonstrate deeper learning and higher motivation than learner without PA (Baylor and Kim, 2005) and they can enhance learners’ confidence and beliefs from their appearance appeal in terms of gender, attractiveness and ethnicity as reported by Plant and Doer (2008).

The well known example of PA can be found in a child educational program called Design-A-Plant. There was HERMAN the bug; a bug like characters that helping children by giving problem solving advice in botany and physiology (Lester et. Al., 1997). There was also ADELE (Agent for distance learning: light edition), which designed for supporting students works through problem solving exercise that are integrated into instructional material delivered over the World Wide Web (Shaw et. Al., 1999). Last but not least, there was STEVE (Soar Learning Expert for Virtual Environment) whom development purposes to help students in terms of operations, helping and guiding the students on US naval surface ships.

Despite all the positive evidences, recent research by Heidig and Clearbout (2011) revealed that from 15 papers they reviewed, nine have clearly reported that no significant differences can be found on PA’s effect on learning outcomes in terms of transfer or retention within the control groups (non-PA group) and the group with PA (see X for further reading). This report illustrated that majority of these studies indicated there is no significant PA effects on learning and these evidences have drawn a discoursing picture of PA as a promising tool in enhancing users learning performance.

Base on all the research aforementioned, limited research has been done on children as their primary subjects. Hence, in this research we will investigate the effects of PA on children learning performance in a virtual environment. In this study, we are specifically focusing on the potential of PA in enhancing children’s understanding of Malaysian folktales and moral values by learning through children’s literature. We will share our experience of using the Pandorabots web service in the development of our pedagogical agent; v-Penglipur Lara or the virtual storyteller. V-Penglipur Lara is designed with the capability to communicate with Malaysia national language, Bahasa Melayu.

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  • Anonymous
    8 years ago
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    Pedagogical agents can be defined as an embodied visual presentation that can facilitate learning on a computer-based application. Their implementation in educational technology has received a positive reaction from many researchers. It has been reported as a great tool to enhance teaching and learning (Valetsioanos and Miller, 2008) and their influence can be seen from a variety of effects on learning outcomes. According to Moreno (2004), pedagogical agents (PA) promote users’ learning, such as gaining students’ attention in an interactive multimedia environment, by providing immediate feedback, reflection and elaborate cues which lead to active learning. For example, a learner exposed to a PA has been reported to demonstrate deeper learning and higher motivation than one who hasn´t made use of a PA (Baylor and Kim, 2005) and they can enhance learners’ confidence and beliefs from their appearance appeal in terms of gender, attractiveness and ethnicity, as reported by Plant and Doer (2008).

    The well known example of PA can be found in a child educational program called Design-A-Plant. There was HERMAN the bug; a bug-like character that helped children by giving problem solving advice in botanics and physiology (Lester et. Al., 1997). There was also ADELE (Agent for distance learning: light edition), which was designed for supporting students' works through problem solving exercises that were integrated into instructional material delivered over the World Wide Web (Shaw et. Al., 1999). Last but not least, there was STEVE (Soar Learning Expert for Virtual Environment) whose development purposes were to help students in terms of operations, helping and guiding them on US naval surface ships.

    Despite all the positive evidences, recent research by Heidig and Clearbout (2011) revealed that from 15 papers reviewed, nine have clearly reported that no significant differences can be found on PA’s effect on learning outcomes in terms of transfer or retention within the control groups (non-PA group) and the group using PAs (see X for further reading). This report illustrated that the majority of these studies indicated there are no significant PA effects on learning and these evidences have drawn a discoursing picture of PA as a promising tool in enhancing users learning performance.

    Based on all researches mentioned before, limited research has been done on children as their primary subjects. Hence, in this research we will investigate the effects of PA on children's learning performance in a virtual environment. In this study, we specifically focus on the potential of PA in enhancing children’s understanding of Malaysian folktales and moral values by learning through children’s literature. We will share our experience of using the Pandorabots web service in the development of our pedagogical agent; v-Penglipur Lara or the virtual storyteller. V-Penglipur Lara is designed with the capability to communicate in Malaysian national language, Bahasa Melayu.

    Hope this works for you! :)

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