The impact of Feedback Tone, Grammatical Person and Presentation Mode on Performance and Preference in a Computer-based Learning Task.
Lane, David M.
Doctor of Philosophy
Politeness is a part of student-tutor interactions and research in affective computing has shown that this social convention may also be applicable when a computer plays the role of tutor. This study sought to build on previous work that examined the effect of the politeness of computer feedback through the application of social and cognitive theories. Employing a mixed-factor design, a sample of 150 college students completed a multiple cue probability learning task (MCPL) on a computer that provided feedback phrased in one of three different tonal styles (joint-goal, student-goal and baldon- record). Feedback tone was a within-subjects factor. Subjects received feedback as either text or as audio. Audio feedback was a between-subjects factor and was delivered in one of four different modes male/female human voice or a male/female synthesized voice. The study found gender differences in tone preference as well as a possible impact of the Tone x Mode interaction on learning. Specifically, men were more likely than women to prefer the student-goal style feedback prompts. It is hoped that this research can provide additional insight to designers of learning applications when they are designing the feedback mechanisms that these systems should employ.