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Freudbot: An Investigation of Chatbot Technology in Distance Education

, , , , , Athabasca University, Canada

EdMedia + Innovate Learning, in Montreal, Canada ISBN 978-1-880094-56-3 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC


A chatbot named Freudbot was constructed using the open source architecture of AIML to determine if a famous person application of chatbot technology could improve student-content interaction in distance education. Fifty-three students in psychology completed a study in which they chatted with Freudbot over the web for 10 minutes under one of two instructional sets. They then completed a questionnaire to provide information about their experience and demographic variables. The results from the questionnaire indicated a neutral evaluation of the chat experience although participants positively endorsed the expansion of chatbot technology and provided clear direction for future development and improvement. A basic analysis of the chatlogs indicated a high proportion of on-task behaviour. There was no effect of instructional set. Altogether, the findings indicate that famous person applications of chatbot technology may be promising as a teaching and learning tool in distance and online education.


Heller, B., Proctor, M., Mah, D., Jewell, L. & Cheung, B. (2005). Freudbot: An Investigation of Chatbot Technology in Distance Education. In P. Kommers & G. Richards (Eds.), Proceedings of ED-MEDIA 2005--World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia & Telecommunications (pp. 3913-3918). Montreal, Canada: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved January 18, 2019 from .


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