Tag Archives: human-computer interaction

Disinhibition and Human Computer Interaction

For some reason, when we are learning a foreign language, we feel intimidated to speak it. We fear we will be laughed at, won’t say the right thing and won’t be understood or simply lack the confidence to put a voice to the words floating around in our brains forming utterances.

It is clear inhibition to speak is a common problem among language learners for whatever reason. So, I am investigating strategies to disinhibit learners, and to provide them with oral interaction confidence, by engaging with a computer to practice speaking, so they have the confidence to interact with humans.

Human computer interaction (HCI) to practise English conversation offers several advantages compared to practising with a human. The main motivations being:

  •  low inhibition because learners know are they are interacting with a machine that will not judge their performance unless asked to do so.
  • a low-anxiety environment which promotes confidence because of the absence of a human waiting form the next turn.
  • Interaction for as long as the learner wants to practice.
  • Computers do not lose their patience, or tire of conversing or repeating the same conversation pattern.

I therefore strongly believe that HCI is a promising solution for learner disinhibitition.Updates on experiments carried out with chatbots to fulfil this research to follow…

From RALL to chatbots

I began the year with a strong desire to continue my research into RALL, and while that is still the case, my research has lead me to investigate the benefits and  pedagogical potential of using chatbot teachers to assist in language learning.

The research examines the use of a speech-to-speech interface as the language-learning tool, designed with the specific intention of promoting oral interaction in English. The computer (chatbot) will assume the role of conversational partner, allowing the learner to practice conversing in English. A retrieval-based model will be used to select appropriate output from predefined responses. This model will then be mapped onto a gamification framework to ensure an interesting and engaging interactional experience.

Speech is one of the most powerful forms of communication between humans; hence, it is my intention to add to current research in the human-computer interaction research field to improve speech interaction between learners and the conversational agent (the chatbot) in order to simulate human-human speech interaction.