Multimodal e-feedback: An Empirical Study




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De Montfort University


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Peer reviewed


This thesis investigated the applicability of unique combinations of multimodal metaphors to deliver different types of feedback. The thesis evaluates the effect of these combinations on the usability of electronic feedback interfaces and on the users’ engagement to learning. The empirical research described in this thesis consists of three experimental phases. In the first phase, an initial experiment was carried out with 40 users to explore and compare the usability and users’ engagement of facially animated expressive avatars with text and natural recorded speech, and text with graphics metaphors. The second experimental phase involved an experiment conducted with 36 users to investigate user perception of feedback communicated using avatar with facial expressions and body gestures, and voice expressions of synthesised speech. This experiment also aimed at evaluating the role that an avatar could play as virtual tutor in e-feedback interfaces by comparing the usability and engagement of users using three different modes of interaction: video with tutor that presented information with facial expressions, synthesised spoken messages supported with text, and avatars with facial expressions and body gestures. The third experimental phase, introduced and investigated a novel approach to communicate e-feedback that was based on the results of the previous experiments. This approach involved speaking avatars to deliver feedback with the aid of earcons, auditory icons, facial expressions and body gestures. The results demonstrated the usefulness and applicability of the tested metaphors to enhance e-feedback usability and to enable users to attain a better engagement with the feedback. A set of empirically derived guidelines for the design and use of these metaphors to communicate e-feedback are also introduced and discussed.





Research Institute