Usability of the PAL Objectives Dashboard for Children’s Diabetes Self-Management Education

Rifca Peters, Elettra Oleari, Francesco Sardu, Mark A. Neerincx
ICSLT 2019, January 2019, Vienna, Austria

Children will only benefit from educational technologies and eCoaches when they understand the long-term consequences and are (intrinsically) motivated to use these support systems. This paper presents an Objective Dashboard that integrates educational achievements, goals and tasks with gamification features (such as challenges, scores and rewards) to advance the interests and engagements of children with type 1 diabetes when using the Personal Assistant for a healthy Lifestyle (PAL) system. By linking in-app activities (e.g., play a quiz or keep a diary) to relevant educational achievements, and to skills and knowledge required in daily life, we aim to increase intrinsic motivation and thereby usage. We designed a dashboard displaying personalised achievements, learning goals and tasks in the domain of diabetes self-management education. We used common user interface design patterns such as layering, colouring, and iconic presentation to organise complex information and reinforce the relations between concepts. Subsequently, we conducted a usability evaluation with twelve children, on the basis of which we refined our design. We found that, colouring and layering were to some extent effective, however, iconic representations were insufficient. Therefore, we recommend to provide short, descriptive labels at any time.

© Peters et al. 2019. This is the author’s version of the work. It is posted here for your personal use. Not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in ICSLT 2019,

The Challenges of Evaluating Child-Robot Interaction with Questionnaires

Mike Ligthart, Rifca Peters
What Could Go Wrong?! Workshop, HRI 2018, March 5, Chicago, IL, USA

In this paper we reflect on the use of questionnaires as an evaluation tool in child-robot interaction research. We provide a case study containing eight user studies. While doing these user studies we ran into two major challenges: violations of the constructs used in questionnaires and a ceiling effect in the responses of the children. These issues are caused by a combination of factors such as, but not limited to, misinterpretations of questions, response biases, and the novelty effect. A first lesson learned is that a proper design of a questionnaire, and how questions are asked and answered, is essential. In this paper we discuss two questionnaire methods we have been developing that potentially could circumvent some of the issues. A second lesson learned is that user studies could benefit if they reflect the long-term nature of the child-robot interaction.

Robots Educate in Style: The Effect of Context and Non-verbal Behaviour on Children’s Perceptions of Warmth and Competence

Rifca Peters, Joost Broekens, Mark A. Neerincx
Ro-MAN'17, August 2017, Lisbon, Portugal

Social robots are entering the private and public domain where they engage in social interactions with nontechnical users. This requires robots to be socially interactive and intelligent, including the ability to display appropriate social behaviour. Progress has been made in emotion modelling.However, research into behaviour style is less thorough; no comprehensive, validated model exists of non-verbal behaviours to express style in human-robot interactions. Based on a literature survey, we created a model of non-verbal behaviour to express high/low warmth and competence—two dimensions that contribute to teaching style. In a perception study, we evaluated this model applied to a NAO robot giving a lecture at primary schools and a diabetes camp in the Netherlands. For this, we developed, based on expert ratings, an instrument measuring perceived warmth, competence, dominance and affiliation. We show that even subtle manipulations of robot behaviour influence children’s perceptions of the robot’s level of warmth and competence.

Guidelines for Tree-based Learning Goal Structuring

Rifca Peters, Joost Broekens, Mark A. Neerincx
IUI 2017, March 13-16, 2017, Limassol, Cyprus

Educational technology needs a model of learning goals to support motivation, learning gain, tailoring of the learning process, and sharing of the personal goals between different types of users (i.e., learner and educator) and the system. This paper proposes a tree-based learning goal structuring to facilitate personal goal setting to shape and monitor the learning process. We developed a goal ontology and created a user interface representing this knowledge-base for the self-management education for children with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus. Subsequently, a co-operative evaluation was conducted with healthcare professionals to refine and validate the ontology and its representation. Presentation of a concrete prototype proved to support professionals’ contribution to the design process. The resulting tree-based goal structure enables three important tasks: ability assessment, goal setting and progress monitoring. Visualization should be clarified by icon placement and clustering of goals with the same difficulty and topic. Bloom’s taxonomy for learning objectives should be applied to improve completeness and clarity of goal content.

The Federated Ontology of the PAL Project. Interfacing Ontologies and Integrating Time-Dependent Data

Hans-Ulrich Krieger, Rifca Peters, Bernd Kiefer, Michael A. van Bekkum, Frank Kaptein and Mark A. Neerincx
8th International Joint Conference on Knowledge Engineering and Ontology Development, INSTICC SCITEPRESS, November 2016, Porto, Portugal

This paper describes ongoing work carried out in the European project PAL which will support children in their diabetes self-management as well as assist health professionals and parents involved in the diabetes regimen of the child. Here, we will focus on the construction of the PAL ontology which has been assembled from several independently developed sub-ontologies and which are brought together by a set of hand-written interface axioms, expressed in OWL. We will describe in detail how the triple model of RDF has been extended towards transaction time in order to represent time-varying data. Examples of queries and rules involving temporal information will be presented as well. The approach is currently been in use in diabetes camps.

Ontology Engineering for the Design and Implementation of Personal Pervasive Lifestyle Support

Demo / Poster
Michael A. van Bekkum, Hans-Ulrich Krieger, Mark A. Neerincx, Frank Kaptein, Bernd Kiefer, Rifca Peters and Stefania Racioppa
Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on Semantic Systems, ACM ICP, 2016.

The PAL project is developing an embodied conversational agent (robot and its avatar), and applications for child-agent activities that help children from 8 to 14 years old to acquire the required knowledge, skills, and attitude for adequate diabetes self-management. Formal and informal caregivers can use the PAL system to enhance their supportive role for this self-management learning process. We are developing a common ontology (i) to support normative behavior in a flexible way, (ii) to establish mutual understanding in the human-agent system, (iii) to integrate and utilize knowledge from the application and scientific domains, and (iv) to produce sensible human-agent dialogues. The common ontology is constructed by relating and integrating partly existing separate ontologies that are specific to certain contexts or domains. This paper presents the general vision, approach, and state of the art.

Ontologies for social, cognitive and affective agent-based support of child’s diabetes self-management

Mark Neerincx, Frank Kaptein, Michael van Bekkum, Hans-Ulrich Krieger, Bernd Kiefer, Rifca Peters, Joost Broekens, Yiannis Demiris and Maya Sapelli
Workshop on Artificial Intelligence for Diabetes - ECAI 2016

The PAL project is developing: (1) an embodied conversational agent (robot and its avatar); (2) applications for child-agent activities that help children from 8 to 14 years old to acquire the required knowledge, skills and attitude for adequate diabetes self-management; and (3) dashboards for caregivers to enhance their supportive role for this self-management learning process. A common ontology is constructed to support normative behavior in a flexible way, to establish mutual understanding in the human-agent system, to integrate and utilize knowledge from the application and scientific domains, and to produce sensible human- agent dialogues. This paper presents the general vision, approach, and state of the art.

Let Me Guide You! Pedagogical Interaction Style for a Robot in Children’s Education

Rifca Peters, Joost Broekens, Mark A Neerincx
ICSR2015 WONDER Workshop, 2015

Social Robots are increasingly applied in healthcare and education. Pedagogical Agents (PAs) are being developed to adapt to the users knowledge, and efforts are made in strategic action selection: what action is appropriate given the context and user preference. However, the issues of how these actions can be appropriately communicated receives less attention. In this paper we propose the development of an adaptive pedagogical interaction style for a robot. We discuss the role of style in human-human interaction and the lack thereof in human-robot interaction. While human educators heavily rely on their ability to identify and respond accordingly to social signals in a fluent and natural way, robots cannot adapt their style of interaction effectively. By adapting the pedagogical interaction style of a robot to the learner and context we expect to be able to create rich and fruitful personalized educational interactions and ultimately facilitate social bonding between the learner and robot. In this position paper we present our view as a starting point for the management of this interaction style. As a basis for the proposition, pedagogic and motivational theories are used.

How Turn-Taking Influences the Perception of a Suspect in Police Interviews

Rifca Peters, Merijn Bruijnes, Rieks op den Akker
in proceedings Chi spar*s, Creating the Difference, 2014, pages 86-89

We study turn-taking behaviour in non-cooperative dialogue for the development of believable characters in a serious game for conversational skill learning in the police interview context. We describe a perception study to see how participants perceive a suspect’s interpersonal stance, rapport, face, and deception when the turn-taking of the subject varies. We influence the perception of the suspect’s stance by altering the timing of the start of speech with respect to the ending of the interlocutor’s speech. The results of the study contribute to the development of an embodied conversational agent capable of natural humansystem conversation with appropriate turn-taking behaviour.

Interpersonal stance in police interviews: content analysis

Journal paper
Rieks op den Akker, Merijn Bruijnes, Rifca Peters, Teun Krikke
Computational Linguistics in the Netherlands, Journal 3, 2013, pages 193-216

A serious game for learning the social skills required for effective police interviewing is a challenging idea. Building artificial conversational characters that play the role of a suspect in a police interrogation game requires computational models of police interviews as well as of the internal psychological mechanisms that determine the behaviour of suspects in this special type of dialogues. Leary’s interactional circumplex is used in police interview training as a theoretical framework to understand how suspects take stance during an interview and how this is related to the stance and the strategy that the interviewer takes. Interactional stance is a fuzzy notion. The question that we consider here is whether different observers of police interviews agree on the type of stance that suspect and policemen take and express in a face-to-face interview. We analyzed police interviews and report about a stance annotation exercise. We conclude that although inter- annotator agreement on stance labeling on the level of speech segments is low, a majority voting “meta-annotator” is able to reveal the important dynamics in stance taking in a police interview. Then we explore the relation between the stance taken by the suspect and turn-taking behaviour, overlaps, interruptions, pauses and silences. Our findings contribute to building computational models of non-player characters that allow more natural turn-taking behaviour in serious games instead of the one-at-a-time regime in interview training games.