Publication Date

Summer 2021

Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Dr. Xiaoxia Huang (Director), Dr. Marge Maxwell, and Dr. Kimberlee Everson

Degree Program

Department of Educational Administration, Leadership, and Research

Degree Type

Doctor of Education


Pedagogical agents, virtual avatars that are often included in online training or educational modules, have been studied in a variety of disciplines to determine the extent to which their inclusion in online or multimedia learning environments may influence both cognitive and affective outcomes in learners. The present study examined the effect of a peer-like pedagogical agent providing motivational messaging in an online English language learning environment to determine if the agent will positively affect college students’ performance, self-efficacy, and attitude in comparison to a control group. All participants studied an online, self-paced English grammar module, either with (treatment version) or without (control version) a peer-like motivating pedagogical agent. The study also sought to determine if learners would perceive the agent as having a distinct persona. The study found no statistically significant difference between the treatment group and the control group on performance, self-efficacy, and attitude. However, for both the treatment group and the control group, student performance and self-efficacy were significantly improved after the online English module. In addition, the participants perceived the agent as having a distinct persona.


Curriculum and Instruction | Educational Methods | Higher Education | Instructional Media Design | Online and Distance Education