The objective of the AtGentive project is to investigate the use of artificial agents for supporting the management of the attention of young or adult learners in the context of individual and collaborative learning environments. Practically, this project consists of the design of artificial agents that are able to coach the learners in reaching higher level of performance in managing their attention in the learning process. These agents, which appear as embedded characters, are able to profile the (short or long term) state of the attention of the learners by observing their actions, to assess, to analyze and to reason on these states of attention, and to provide some proactive coaching (assessment, guidance, stimulation, etc.).
In overall perspective project aims to understand better the role of attention in the effectiveness in Learning (motivation, how to be organized, etc.) as well as to help users (students & educators) to learn to manage better their attention (support for users with attention deficit disorder, procrastination, how to organize the time for a learner, etc.) by reducing the cognitive load and direct focus.
Project focuses on exploration of the following:
- Gain a better understanding of the role of attention in effective learning processes (motivation, how to be organized, etc.)
- Assess the possibility of designing systems capable of:
- Reducing cognitive load and direct focus
- Increase motivation, and reduce attrition and dropout in open-to-use digital learning platforms and digital collaborative environments
- Increase the social activity (social attention)
- Better understand the use and effectiveness of artificial characters in a learning context with respect to attention processes. In particular we address the following problems:
- The difficulty for young children to concentrate for a long time (it is important therefore to identify when they have detached)
- The difficulty for knowledge workers to organize their work and interaction with other (given the deadlines, the interruptions, etc.)
- To design an agent-enhanced collaborative learning infrastructure, informed about the learner attentional mental state, able to provide more effective interaction (less disruptive), and supporting the learner to manage his/her attention.
- To design an attentional facet to the "brain" of an artificial agent.
Attentive agents will be designed and delivered as part of two different learning infrastructure/contexts:
- AtGentSchool: artificial characters enhanced eLearning platform for child education;
- AtGentNet: an advanced virtual community platform supporting knowledge exchange in knowledge communities.
Concerning technical part of the project, the outcomes will include design of an agent-enhanced collaborative learning infrastructure, informed about the learner attentional mental state, able to provide more effective interaction (less disruptive), and supporting the learner to manage his/her attention, design of a mechanisms integrating eye feedback to artificial characters technologies and design of an attentional facet to the "brain" of an artificial agent.