Promising Research Results On Specific Forms Of Adaptive Learning / ITS

Phil Hill, Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, Jul 14, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes

"The most promising results appear to be for a subset of adaptive systems that provide not just content selection but also tutoring," writes Phil Hill. How do such systems do this? An Intelligent Tutoring System (ITS) "constructs either a persistent multidimensional model of the student’s psychological states (such as subject matter knowledge, learning strategies, motivations, or emotions)." In other words, "ITS relies on a multidimensional model of the student in addition to a model of the subject area (domain model)." This allows the creation of a double-loop system: the outer loop selects learning tasks, while the inner loop "elicits steps within each task (e.g., problem-solving steps) and provides guidance with respect to these steps, typically in the form of feedback, hints, or error messages." Why does this work? It's immediate feedback, response-specific feedback, increased learner control, and individualized task selection.

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