A Framework for Multiple Adaptable Pedagogical Strategies in Intelligent Tutoring Systems
Thesis DisciplineComputer Science
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
The need to give educators the ability to enter a particular teaching strategy of their choice into an Intelligent Tutoring System (ITS) and have the ITS respond appropriately to each student has been stated by many researchers. For example, an educator could tell the ITS to keep students within a certain help level ratio (how much help they request), or to introduce a new topic in a particular manner and the ITS simply carries this out at each learning point of interest. Educators could then try new strategies, ones that unaided are impossible to try out in class (such as keeping a student within a help-seeking range) or difficult within an ITS (as the ITS would have to be specially programmed in that way). Current ITSs provide adaptivity to the student at the domain level but not necessarily at the pedagogical level. While a variety of pedagogical strategies have been implemented (e.g. apprenticeship, socratic, practice), there is no system that offers parts or all of these strategies with the ability to choose between them dynamically.
In this project, we designed a new framework for an ITS to include multiple, potentially adaptable pedagogical strategies. This was done by breaking up the pedagogical module into separate components. The Pedagogical Strategy Set (PSS) contains all the strategies, written as constraints. The Pedagogical Student Model (PSM) keeps track of which pedagogical strategies were used by each student. Within the ITS, there is still a smaller, separate pedagogical module to deal with domain-specific strategies. The Pedagogical Control Centre (PCC) contains the logic of when and how to use the pedagogical strategies. It gathers its information from the other modules and uses decision logic to trigger strategies.
We implemented and evaluated this framework within the context of SQL-Tutor and found that the framework could be used to enter pedagogical strategies, which in turn compared favourably to the original SQL-Tutor. This proof of concept opens up the possibility of the logic and algorithms that could be implemented (e.g. in the PCC) in future ITSs. The PSS is a separate module, written in a different language, independent of ITSs. This could lead to sharing of pedagogical strategies between tutors. Furthermore, students learn differently to each other; this framework allows them to do so.