Widening the Knowledge Acquisition Bottleneck for Intelligent Tutoring Systems
Thesis DisciplineComputer Science
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Empirical studies have shown that Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS) are effective tools for education. However, developing an ITS is a labour-intensive and time-consuming process. A major share of the development effort is devoted to acquiring the domain knowledge that accounts for the intelligence of the system. The goal of this research is to reduce the knowledge acquisition bottleneck and enable domain experts to build the domain model required for an ITS. In pursuit of this goal an authoring system capable of producing a domain model with the assistance of a domain expert was developed. Unlike previous authoring systems, this system (named CAS) has the ability to acquire knowledge for non-procedural as well as procedural tasks. CAS was developed to generate the knowledge required for constraint-based tutoring systems, reducing the effort as well as the amount of expertise in knowledge engineering and programming required. Constraint-based modelling is a student modelling technique that assists in somewhat easing the knowledge acquisition bottleneck due to the abstract representation. CAS expects the domain expert to provide an ontology of the domain, example problems and their solutions. It uses machine learning techniques to reason with the information provided by the domain expert for generating a domain model. A series of evaluation studies of this research produced promising results. The initial evaluation revealed that the task of composing an ontology of the domain assisted with the manual composition of a domain model. The second study showed that CAS was effective in generating constraints for the three vastly different domains of database modelling, data normalisation and fraction addition. The final study demonstrated that CAS was also effective in generating constraints when assisted by novice ITS authors, producing constraint sets that were over 90% complete.