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Abstract
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The use of robots in the area of education is rapidly gaining momentum. Education faces

restructuring and modernization in the forthcoming age of robots, thus necessitating research

meeting the requirements of this development. In this, focusing on robots’ acceptance and

applicability in educational contexts, right from the very beginning, is crucial. Therefore, this

dissertation thesis has addressed this issue. It has striven to evaluate factors which contribute

to a successful introduction of robots into education in a systematic manner. The strengths of

the current work lie in its interdisciplinary nature, theoretical fundament, and the application of

empirical and experimental methods. <br /><br />

In practical terms, a set of studies have offered insights on how the implementation and

application of robots in education could be facilitated. To do so, they operated on three different

levels: First, the focus was on end users’ attitudes toward educational robots. It was shown that

their attitudes and willingness to use educational robots were moderate. However, the results

also indicated that the acceptance of educational robots could be fostered by the promotion of

people’s general technical interest and a targeted use of robots in individual or small-group

learning activities, in domains related to science and technology. In addition, it was found that

user involvement in an educational robot’s design process can increase people’s general

acceptance of educational robots. Second, the work focused on how to effectively design a

human-robot interaction (HRI) for learning purposes by building upon the cooperative learning

paradigm found in educational literature. Actual HRI experiments confirmed that a robot’s

physical presence was beneficial for the learning experience, and implied that positive

interdependence with a robot, social support from it, and mutual feedback about the learning

process were positively related to the learning experience and the learners’ perception of the

robot. Third, when tackling the issue of the ideal educational robot design, it has become clear

that people’s perception of robots is influenced by context- and person-specific factors.

To trigger a higher acceptance of educational robots, robotics research should match potential end

users’ educational robot design concepts, for example, machinelike appearance and

functionality as well as privacy and safety requirements. <br /><br />

Taken together, this dissertation presents a sound basis for identifying issues related to the

implementation and application of educational robots. However, research is still far from

having completed the development of strategies for implementing and using social robots in

education meaningfully. Consequently, potential future research directions will be discussed in

light of the obtained results.

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