Investigating the Effectiveness of Problem Templates on Learning in Intelligent Tutoring Systems
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Deliberate practice within a coached environment is required for skill acquisition and mastery. Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITSs) provide such an environment. A goal in ITS development is to find means to maximise effective learning. This provides the motivation for the project presented. This paper proposes the notion of problem templates. These mental constructs extend the idea of memory templates, and allow experts in a domain to store vast amounts of domain-specific information that are easily accessible when faced with a problem. This research aims to examine the validity of such a construct and investigate its role in regards to effective learning within ITSs. After extensive background research, an evaluation study was performed at the University of Canterbury. Physical representations of problem templates were formed in Structured Query Language (SQL). These were used to model students, select problems, and provide customised feedback in the experimental version of SQLTutor, an Intelligent Tutoring System. The control group used the original version of SQL-Tutor where pedagogical (problem selection and feedback) and modelling decisions were based on constraints. Preliminary results show that such a construct could exist; furthermore, it could be used to help students attain high levels of expertise within a domain. Students using template based ITS showed high levels of learning within short periods of time. The author suggests further evaluation studies to investigate the extent and detail of its effect on learning.