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DynaLearn


Start date: 01.01.2009
Funded by: Universität Augsburg
Local head of project: René Bühling Dipl.-Inf. Michael Wißner Dr. Nikolaus Bee

Abstract

dynalearn_logoThe DynaLearn project creates an interactive learning environment for conceptual modelling. We provide a full set of animated characters that will not only support the users in meaning of a help agents, but that will also reflect the user's knowledge. By training virtual hamsters inside a virtual class room it will be possible to test the plausability of modeled content, learn more and find mistakes in a playful and entertaining way.

Description

DynaLearn aims at the development of an interactive learning environment where learners are able to model conceptional system knowledge individually or in collaboration with others. The objective to provide students’ with an individual learning environment with teachers and learners that adapted to their skills immediately leads to the metaphor of a virtual classroom. In this classroom, students may directly engage in a dialogue with virtual teachers, mentors or learning companions. They may help other agents by teaching them and subsequently watch their performance in a test or quiz. In this way, the virtual world becomes a (virtual) class room inside a (real) class room. The agents may either inhabit their own environment or reside on the user’s desktop as part of the GARP system. In the latter case, the monitor will serve as the agents’ living space.

Cartoon-like pets are expressive, but do not raise too high expectations regarding their conversational skills. Furthermore, they may evoke strong emotions in users and thus have the potential to engage in long-term relationships with them. We decided to employ hamsters because of their familiarity as pets and their strong presence in digital media. Once discovered by an Israeli zoologist in the Syrian Desert, gold hamsters became more and more popular as pets – first in the United States and a little bit later also in Europe. The fact that hamsters have been heavily exploited as laboratory animals and specific kinds of hamster are now protected species in several countries, such as the Grey Hamster in Bulgaria, raises the awareness of the environmental problems to be addressed in DynaLearn.

 

Example Videos

Use Cases:
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HowTo? - Ask for basic functionality and work steps.

 

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What is? - Shows the meaning of dependencies and terms.

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Quiz - Playful valuation of learner's knowledge.

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Teachable Agent - Teaching a pet and get information on the model quality from that.

Additional examples of our work in this project:
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Installer software for first time installation, update and uninstallation of complex technical infrastructure with one click.

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Animation: What is DynaLearn about?

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Example for text-to-speech engine connected to a Flash based frontend.