Document Type : Original Research Paper
Department of Educational Technology, Faculty of Educational Sciences and Psychology, Kharazmi University, Tehran, Iran
in the learning process of students; one of these technologies is educational multimedia. Among the principles and criteria of multimedia production is the use of educational agent in its design. An educational agent is an animated character that talks and is embedded in educational computer programs and helps to provide multimedia content or students' participation in learning. Although there have been numerous studies with the aim of investigating the effect of the educational agent in education, there has been no research regarding the use of several educational agents with different roles in educational multimedia. In this study, using multimedia with one educational agent and multimedia with three educational agents (each of which has a different role), and the effect of educational agents on learning, retention and academic engagement of students in science course was investigated.
Methods: The statistical population of the research included all sixth-grade students in Khorram Abad in the academic year of 2020-2021. Using random sampling method, three classes of 30 students were selected among the sixth-grade classes of Khorram Abad schools and were randomly assigned to experimental groups. The research method was quasi-experimental with a pre-test-post-test design. The research tools included a researcher-made learning test, a retention test, and Rio's academic engagement questionnaire, and the reliability coefficient was calculated as 0.821 using Cronbach's alpha coefficient for the academic engagement questionnaire. The classrooms were taught simultaneously and separately for four sessions using educational multimedia tools developed by the researcher.
Findings: The results of covariance analysis showed that there was a significant difference between the experimental science course scores in the groups (F=68.42, P<0.005) and the use of educational agent had a significant effect on learning. The difference in the average scores of the post-test learning of students who were trained with one educational agent (experiment group one) and students who were trained with three educational agents with different roles (experiment group two) was -9.35 and with 95% confidence of using three educational agents was more effective than using an educational agent and led to better learning of science lessons. In the retention variable, the results showed that there was a significant difference between the scores of the experimental groups (1 and 2) and the control group (F=7.6, P<0.05) and the use of an educational agent had an effect on retention compared to not using an educational agent and the presence of an educational agent in the education process led to better retention of information in the memory in the long run. The difference between the average scores of the memory test of the students of experiment group one and the students of experiment group two was -0.928 and there was no significant difference between the use of three educational agents compared to the use of one educational agent. In the variable of academic engagement, there was a significant difference between the grades of groups (F=7.24, P<0.05) and the use of educational agents had a significant effect on academic engagement, and the students of experimental groups 1 and 2 who were trained with educational agents. They had more engagement in academic assignments and tasks. Moreover, according to the results, using three educational agents with different roles was more effective than using one educational agent and caused more active engagement of experimental group 2 in doing the academic assignments of the science course.
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