The Caring Personal Agent

In IJAIED 13 (1): "Special Issue on Caring for the Learner in honour of John Self "

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Abstract. Self (1999) argues that the essence of having a computer-based learning system that “cares” about its learners is that the system model its learners so as to be able to adapt to their needs. In this paper we discuss the notion of personal agents who care for their “owners” by representing the owners' interests in the learning system. We contextualise this discussion by showing how such personal agents are used in I-Help, a system that promotes caring and sharing by encouraging learners to help one another. In I-Help, personal agents themselves care for their learners by helping them to discover useful information and/or to find “ready, willing, and able” peer learners who can aid them in overcoming problems.