Multiple Viewpoints for Tutoring Systems.

Moyse, Roderick (1991). Multiple Viewpoints for Tutoring Systems. PhD thesis The Open University.



This thesis investigates the issue of how a tutoring system, intelligent or otherwise, may be designed to utilise multiple viewpoints on the domain being tutored, and what benefits may accrue from this. The issue was relevant to earlier systems, such as WHY (Stevens et al. 1979) and STEAMER (Hollan et al. 1984).

The relevant literature is reviewed, and criteria which must be met by our implementation of viewpoints are established. Viewpoints are conceptualised as pre-defined structures which can be represented in a tutoring system with the potential to increase its effectiveness and adaptability. A formalism is proposed where inferences are drawn from a model by a range of operators. The application of this combination to problems and goals is to be described heuristically. This formulation is then related to the educational philosophy of Cognitive Apprenticeship. The formalism is tested and refined in a protocol analysis study which leads to the definition of three classes of operators.

The viewpoint structure is used to produce a detailed formulation of the domain of Prolog debugging for novices, with the goal that students should learn how different bugs may be localised using different viewpoints. Three models of execution are defined, based on those described by Bundy et al. (1985). These are mapped onto a restricted catalogue of bugs by specifying a number of conventions which produce a simplified and consistent domain suited to the needs of novices.

VIPER, a tutoring system which can itself accomplish and explain the relevant domain tasks, is described. VIPER is based on a meta-interpreter which produces detailed execution histories which are then analysed. An evaluation of VIPER is reported, with generally favourable results.

VIPER is discussed in relation to the research goals, the usefulness of Cognitive Apprenticeship in supporting such a design, and possible future work. This discussion exemplifies the use of established student modeling techniques, the implementation of other viewpoints on Prolog, and the application of the design strategy to other domains. Claims are made in relation to the formulation of viewpoints, the architecture of VIPER, and the relevance of Cognitive Apprenticeship to the use of multiple viewpoints.

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