Designing and Evaluating Iconic Gestures for Child-Robot Second Language Learning

Jan de Wit, Bram Willemsen, Mirjam de Haas, Rianne van den Berghe, Paul Leseman, Ora Oudgenoeg-Paz, Josje Verhagen, Paul Vogt, Emiel Krahmer

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    In this paper, we examine the process of designing robot-performed iconic hand gestures in the context of a long-term study into second language tutoring with children of approximately 5 years old. We explore four factors that may relate to their efficacy in supporting second language tutoring: the age of participating children; differences between gestures for various semantic categories, e.g. measurement words, such as small, versus counting words, such as five; the quality (comprehensibility) of the robot’s gestures; and spontaneous reenactment or imitation of the gestures. Age was found to relate to children’s learning outcomes, with older children benefiting more from the robot’s iconic gestures than younger children, particularly for measurement words. We found no conclusive evidence that the quality of the gestures or spontaneous reenactment of said gestures related to learning outcomes. We further propose several improvements to the process of designing and implementing a robot’s iconic gesture repertoire.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number6
    Pages (from-to)596-626
    Number of pages31
    JournalInteracting with Computers
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 29 Jul 2021


    • nonverbal communication
    • human-robot interaction
    • social robotics
    • second language learning


    Dive into the research topics of 'Designing and Evaluating Iconic Gestures for Child-Robot Second Language Learning'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this