Ann Conkle
Mar 2, 2012

New software responds to students' emotions, boredom

Computer software that models and responds to students' cognitive and emotional states -- including frustration and boredom -- has been developed by University of Notre Dame Assistant Professor of Psychology Sidney D'Mello and his colleagues. The new technology offers tremendous learning possibilities for students and redefines human-computer interaction. ‘AutoTutor’ and ‘Affective AutoTutor’ can gauge the student's level of knowledge by asking probing questions, analyzing the student's responses; proactively identifying and correcting misconceptions; responding to the student's own questions, gripes and comments; sensing a student's frustration or boredom through facial expression and body posture and dynamically changing its strategies in response. "Much like a gifted human tutor... [the programs] attempt to keep the student balanced between the extremes of boredom and bewilderment by subtly modulating the pace, direction, and complexity of the learning task," D'Mello says.