Get Engaged with Animated Learning Agents

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Learning agents present training materials to the learners, present scenarios, ask questions, and much more.  A learning agent might be a character in eLearning, much like a teacher guiding you through a lesson.   There are also downfalls to using learning agents such as, you cannot ask an open ended question and receive a response.

You will often see static learning agents within eLearning courses.  Static agents are images of the agent, sometimes accompanied with audio.

Examples of software with animated agents includes: CodeBaby, NOAH animated character technology and AlterEgos; just to name a few.  Animated agents can be placed within eLearning software such as Articulate, Captivate or Lectora.

CodeBaby

CodeBaby is a software in which you can select from 30 characters to add engagement to your training.  The character will lip sync with your voice and gestures can be added.  There are even different camera settings for your CodeBaby; you can have the camera zoomed in on the face of the CodeBaby or even zoomed to see the CodeBaby’s entire figure.  The developer has the option to place an .jpg image behind the CodeBaby as a setting.  Below is a video example of what a CodeBaby looks like.

NOAH – animated character technology

NOAH animated character’s can also be placed within eLearning software.   NOAH characters are Flash based and can be customized by the company.  The characters can highlight parts of eLearning and they can bring up movies.  The NOAH characters have more of a .gif animated look rather than 3d avatar characteristic. NOAHx is only available as part of the custom design services offered by the parent company TelSim Software.  NOAH’s avatars can also be used on web-pages.  Check out a NOAH presentation at: http://www.noahx.com/NOAH/

AlterEgos

Like CodeBaby AlterEgos also uses lip syncing. The avatar used is a head-shot showing head, neck and shoulders of the avatar. The avatar can be saved as a .swf, .avi, or .flv file format to be placed within training or standalone.  There is also an option for your AlterEgos avatar to be published to YouTube.  Below is a 5 minute demo of AlterEgos found on YouTube:

In the past, I have enjoyed taking eLearning courses with an animated agent, especially if the agent interacts with the eLearning’s content.  Do you think that animated agents aid in training, create confusion, or make no significant impact?

– Melissa.

3 thoughts on “Get Engaged with Animated Learning Agents

    Paul said:
    May 9, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    You have an interesting view on use of “learning agents” and even your term for the avatars makes me think of them in a different way than I have been. I have been using CodeBaby in eLearning modules for over a year now and find them very helpful in getting the information across to users. My frustration is finding others to work with in developing ideas and techniques for them (I’m a one person shop).

      mem40298 responded:
      May 10, 2013 at 4:49 pm

      Paul,

      Thank you! There are definitely other terms I have seen for avatars, learning agents is one I picked up from my MSIT program. I think that CodeBaby calls them “Intelligent Virtual Assistants.” At least that is what one of their LinkedIn posts says.

      I really like CodeBaby a lot, I think it adds an extra level of engagement if used the right way. I wish I got a chance to use it, but I don’t do too much developing. I saw them at the Learning Solutions conference and they had some great examples.

      I would love to hear more about your experiences with “learning agents.” Do you freelance?

        Paul said:
        May 10, 2013 at 5:09 pm

        I’m currently in a state government job and don’t freelance. At one time I did some independent contracting when I wasn’t working with an actual full-time employer but sure don’t want to do that again!

        I have worked in my present job with the CodeBaby avatar (studio pro) software and like it for the high level of custom work you can do with the program. We develop/publish using Articulate with PowerPoint and the avatar is very easy to drop into the proper spots to enhance the learning. send me a direct email if you want at paul.foreman@iowa.gov.

        Paul –

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