Toward an Intelligent Virtual Learning Assistant through User Participation

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Alexa is a voice-controlled Amazon assistant that turns speech into actions. Since its launch in 2015, Amazon Alexa has continued to lead the Internet of Things (IoT) hub market. Also, research showed that Amazon Alexa has potential for helping students in higher education (HE). Still, there is not much research about how Amazon products can help HE students and education in general.
This project aimed to find out the most common challenges that final-year students face, design a set of Amazon Alexa’s skills (applications developed specifically for an Alexa device) which can help overcome these problems and make the Amazon Echo a customisable learning assistant for students.
The project consisted of:
- a review the background literature, including voice assistants and their benefits, as well as the common categories of challenges encountered by students in the higher education (HE);
- interviews and focus groups with 19 undergraduate and recently-graduate students, educators and Human-Computer Interaction experts to identify the requirements for the Alexa’s skills.
- implementation of Alexa’s skills to support students with time management and course material
- a formative evaluation study of the new Alexa’s skills, conducted with one HCI expert and 16 students, to identify usability problems and suggestions for improving the skills.
- a final evaluation study with 11 students to understand how students perceive the skills in terms of engagement, usability and effectiveness. This revealed that the new skills are engaging and effective in supporting students with time management and course material
The purpose of this presentation is to introduce the new Alexa’s skills, present their development and the results of their evaluation in Informatics. In addition we hope to sparkles discussion about the use of the new Alexa’s skills in other contexts and further development of other Alexa’s skills targeting the HE.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 22 Feb 2021
Event University of Edinburgh Learning and Teaching Conference 2021 - Virtual
Duration: 15 Jun 202117 Jun 2021
https://blogs.ed.ac.uk/learning-teaching-conference/conference-posters-2/

Conference

Conference University of Edinburgh Learning and Teaching Conference 2021
Period15/06/2117/06/21
Internet address

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