Start: 01.01.2009
Funded By: University of Augsburg
Local Head of Project: Prof. Dr. Elisabeth André
Local Scientists: René Bühling, Michael Wißner, Dr. Gregor Mehlmann, Dr. Nikolaus Bee




© University of Augsburg

About the Project

The DynaLearn project creates an interactive learning environment for modeling concept knowledge. We have created an extensive set of animated characters that not only support the learner in terms of instruction, but also reflect the user's knowledge. By teaching a virtual hamster in a virtual classroom, this software makes it possible to test the plausibility of created models, learn more about them and find errors in a fun and entertaining way.

DynaLearn aims to develop an interactive learning environment where students have the opportunity to model designed system knowledge individually or in group work. Offering students a customized learning environment with virtual teachers and students who respond to the student's real-world knowledge, quickly leads to the image of the virtual classroom. Here, students can interact directly with virtual teachers, advisors, or classmates. They have the opportunity to help characters by teaching them and evaluating them over and over again by observing their performance on a test or quiz. In this way, the virtual world becomes a (virtual) classroom within the (real) classroom. The agents can stay in their own environment or even move around the entire desktop as part of the GARP system. In the latter case, the monitor becomes the creature's habitat.


Cartoon-like animals are expressive, but do not raise too high expectations regarding their communicative abilities. Moreover, they usually arouse strong emotions in the user and therefore have the potential to build lasting relationships. We decided to use hamsters as pets because of their familiarity. They also currently appear in numerous other digital media. Originally discovered by an Israeli zoologist in the Syrian desert, the popularity of golden hamsters as pets steadily increased - first in the United States and a little later in Europe. The fact that hamsters have been used a lot as laboratory animals, and that some species, such as the gray hamster in Bulgaria, are now even protected species, draws users' attention to the environmental issues at the heart of DynaLearn.