Engagement in longitudinal child-robot language learning interactions: disentangling robot and task engagement

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

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    This study investigated a seven sessions interaction between a peer-tutor robot and Dutch preschoolers (5 years old) during which the children learned English. We examined whether children’s engagement differed when interacting with a tablet and a robot using iconic gestures, with a tablet and a robot using no iconic gestures and with only a tablet. Two engagement types were annotated (task engagement and robot engagement) using a novel coding scheme based on an existing coding scheme used in kindergartens. The findings revealed that children’s task engagement dropped over time in all three conditions, consistent with the novelty effect. However, there were no differences between the different conditions for task engagement. Interestingly, robot engagement showed a difference between conditions. Children were more robot engaged when interacting with a robot using iconic gestures than without iconic gestures. Finally, when comparing children’s word knowledge with their engagement, we found that both task engagement and robot engagement were positively correlated with children’s word retention.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)100501
    Number of pages1
    JournalInternational Journal of Child-Computer Interaction
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2022


    • child-robot interaction
    • engagement
    • second language learning
    • robot tutor
    • preschool children


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