This study examined the potential of pedagogical agents as learning companions (PALs) to build social relations with learners and, consequently, to motivate learning. The study investigated the impact of PAL affect (positive vs. negative vs. neutral), PAL gender (male vs. female), and learner gender (male vs. female) on learners' social judgments, motivation, and learning in a controlled experiment. Participants were 142 college students in a computer-literacy course. Overall, the results indicated the interaction effects of PAL affect, PAL gender, and learner gender on learners' social judgments (p < .001). PAL affect impacted learners' social judgments (p < .001) and motivation (p < .05). PAL gender influenced motivation (p < .01) and recall of learning (p < .05). Learner gender influenced recall of learning (p < .01). The implications of the findings are discussed.
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