Supporting interest in science learning with a social robot

Design Learning
Michaelis, J., and B. Mutlu. “Supporting Interest in Science Learning With a Social Robot”. Proceedings of the 18th ACM International Conference on Interaction Design and Children, ACM, 2019, pp. 71-82.


Education research offers strong evidence that social supports, learning interventions situated in meaningful social interaction, during learning can aid in developing interest and promote understanding for the content. However, children are often asked to complete homework tasks in isolation. To address this discrepancy, we build on prior work in social robotics to demonstrate the effectiveness of a socially adept robot, as compared to a socially neutral robot to generate situational interest and improve learning while reading a science textbook. We conducted a randomized controlled experiment (N = 63) of one reading interaction with either the socially adept or socially neutral robot. Our results show that children who read with a socially adept robot found the robot to be friendlier and more attractive, reported a higher level of closeness and mutual-liking for the robot, had higher situational interest, and made more scientifically accurate statements on a concept-map activity. We discuss the practical and theoretical implications of these findings.

DOI: 10.1145/3311927.3323154


	doi = {10.1145/3311927.3323154},
	url = {},
	year = 2019,
	month = {jun},
	publisher = {{ACM}},
	author = {Joseph E. Michaelis and Bilge Mutlu},
	title = {Supporting Interest in Science Learning with a Social Robot},
	booktitle = {Proceedings of the 18th {ACM} International Conference on Interaction Design and Children}
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