An investigation of the virtual competitive scaffolding assistant: a prior knowledge perspective

Sherry Y. Chen, Guan Lin Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Virtual competition can address the problems of real competition, but there is a lack of sufficient interactive engagement. Furthermore, virtual competition still belongs to competition, which may let learners have high anxiety. To this end, we developed a Virtual Competitive Scaffolding Assistant (VCSA), which not only included mechanisms to enhance interactive engagement, but also provided scaffolding hints to reduce learners’ anxiety. On the other hand, an empirical study was undertaken to examine how prior knowledge influenced learners’ reactions to the VCSA, including learning achievement and learning behavior. Regarding learning achievement, high prior knowledge learners significantly performed better than low prior knowledge learners for Task 1, while they demonstrated similar performance for Task 2. Additionally, low prior knowledge learners and high prior knowledge learners obtained similar post-test scores, but the former significantly got higher gain scores than the latter. Regarding learning behavior, low prior knowledge learners tended to locate small-scaled information with the Chinese hint, while high prior knowledge learners tended to collect large-scaled information with the sentence hint. According to findings obtained from this study, a framework was provided for designers to develop virtual competitive games that can accommodate learners’ individual differences, especially prior knowledge.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)945-956
Number of pages12
JournalUniversal Access in the Information Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2023


  • Digital games
  • Prior knowledge
  • Scaffolding hints
  • Virtual competition

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