Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


In the context of education ECAs can take on multiple roles. It is common for the ECA to take on the role of the teacher, facilitating learning through a combination of explicit instruction, feedback and questioning, much like a classroom teacher would (Bosseler and Massaro 2003; McNamara et al. 2004). In this book we provide a variety of examples of ECA-based educational software, spanning both age group and application area, a discussion of issues relating to the design and implementation of both the ECA itself and the system it is embedded in, and a discussion of underlying educational principles. As a case study we also present the Thinking Head Whiteboard, a flexible and customisable ECA-based learning system, and discuss the outcomes of an initial evaluation using this system as a social skills tutor for children with autism. Finally, we look at future directions for ECA-based educational software.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTeaching Skills with Virtual Humans
Subtitle of host publicationLessons from the Development of the Thinking Head Whiteboard
EditorsDavid M. W. Powers
Place of PublicationSingapore
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages3
ISBN (Electronic)978-981-16-2312-7
ISBN (Print)978-981-16-2311-0
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Publication series

NameCognitive Science and Technology
Publisher Springer Nature Singapore
ISSN (Print)2195-3988
ISSN (Electronic)2195-3996

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021, The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd.


  • Embodied Conversational Agents
  • ECA
  • teacher
  • facilitating learning
  • peer
  • collaborator
  • behaviours
  • skills
  • learner
  • knowledge


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