A Humanoid Robot as a Language Tutor


We are looking for a way to make use of Nao robot in learning Finnish as a L2. The pedagogical background of our experiment is based on Curran’s Community Language Learning method and its Finnish application called ‘Toisto’ (‘Repeat’). We approach the topic with the means of Conversation Analysis (CA). The target group are adult students studying at the Helsinki Skill Center aiming to work at the area of health care. Our questions are:

  1. Can a humanoid robot reduce a fear of making mistakes and that way promote speaking? Is it easier to ask help from a robot? 2) Can robots support self-paced and self-guided learning? 3) How robots can deal with students’ feelings and what kind of affective qualities does robot-assisted teaching have? According to our material in human-tutored session students didn’t take independent contact, but the teacher made the decision to ask help for the students. In robot-tutored session the students touched the hand of a robot independently. However, it is too early to draw general conclusions about if a robot is more approachable than a human. There was more laughter in the robot-assisted learning situations. The robot may have brought more joy and easiness to the learning situation and that way promote learning. Working with a robot in the teaching situation the studied language material was more limited and the robot repeated the words more than those with the human language tutor.