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The Continuous Hint Factory - Providing Hints in Vast and Sparsely Populated Edit Distance Spaces

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Intelligent tutoring systems can support students in solving multi-step tasks by providing hints regarding what to do next. However, engineering such next-step hints manually or via an expert model becomes infeasible if the space of possible states is too large. Therefore, several approaches have emerged to infer next-step hints automatically, relying on past students' data. In particular, the Hint Factory (Barnes & Stamper, 2008) recommends edits that are most likely to guide students from their current state towards a correct solution, based on what successful students in the past have done in the same situation. Still, the Hint Factory relies on student data being available for any state a student might visit while solving the task, which is not the case for some learning tasks, such as open-ended programming tasks. In this contribution we provide a mathematical framework for edit-based hint policies and, based on this theory, propose a novel hint policy to provide edit hints in vast and sparsely populated state spaces. In particular, we extend the Hint Factory by considering data of past students in all states which are similar to the student's current state and creating hints approximating the weighted average of all these reference states. Because the space of possible weighted averages is continuous, we call this approach the Continuous Hint Factory. In our experimental evaluation, we demonstrate that the Continuous Hint Factory can predict more accurately what capable students would do compared to existing prediction schemes on two learning tasks, especially in an open-ended programming task, and that the Continuous Hint Factory is comparable to existing hint policies at reproducing tutor hints on a simple UML diagram task.


Recommender system for learning SQL using hints

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Today's software industry requires individuals who are proficient in as many programming languages as possible. Structured query language (SQL), as an adopted standard, is no exception, as it is the most widely used query language to retrieve and manipulate data. However, the process of learning SQL turns out to be challenging. The need for a computer-aided solution to help users learn SQL and improve their proficiency is vital. In this study, we present a new approach to help users conceptualize basic building blocks of the language faster and more efficiently. The adaptive design of the proposed approach aids users in learning SQL by supporting their own path to the solution and employing successful previous attempts, while not enforcing the ideal solution provided by the instructor. Furthermore, we perform an empirical evaluation with 93 participants and demonstrate that the employment of hints is successful, being especially beneficial for users with lower prior knowledge.


Towards an Intelligent Tutor for Mathematical Proofs

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Computer-supported learning is an increasingly important form of study since it allows for independent learning and individualized instruction. In this paper, we discuss a novel approach to developing an intelligent tutoring system for teaching textbook-style mathematical proofs. We characterize the particularities of the domain and discuss common ITS design models. Our approach is motivated by phenomena found in a corpus of tutorial dialogs that were collected in a Wizard-of-Oz experiment. We show how an intelligent tutor for textbook-style mathematical proofs can be built on top of an adapted assertion-level proof assistant by reusing representations and proof search strategies originally developed for automated and interactive theorem proving. The resulting prototype was successfully evaluated on a corpus of tutorial dialogs and yields good results.


New Potentials for Data-Driven Intelligent Tutoring System Development and Optimization

AI Magazine

Increasing widespread use of educational technologies is producing vast amounts of data. Such data can be used to help advance our understanding of student learning and enable more intelligent, interactive, engaging, and effective education. In this article, we discuss the status and prospects of this new and powerful opportunity for data-driven development and optimization of educational technologies, focusing on intelligent tutoring systems We provide examples of use of a variety of techniques to develop or optimize the select, evaluate, suggest, and update functions of intelligent tutors, including probabilistic grammar learning, rule induction, Markov decision process, classification, and integrations of symbolic search and statistical inference.


New Potentials for Data-Driven Intelligent Tutoring System Development and Optimization

AI Magazine

Such data can be used to help advance our understanding of student learning and enable more intelligent, interactive, engaging, and effective education. In this article, we discuss the status and prospects of this new and powerful opportunity for datadriven development and optimization of educational technologies, focusing on intelligent tutoring systems. We provide examples of use of a variety of techniques to develop or optimize the select, evaluate, suggest, and update functions of intelligent tutors, including probabilistic grammar learning, rule induction, Markov decision process, classification, and integrations of symbolic search and statistical inference. AI methods have advanced considerably since those early days, and so have intelligent tutoring systems. Today, intelligent tutoring systems are in widespread use in K-12 schools and colleges and are enhancing the student learning experience (for example, Graesser et al. [2005]; Mitrovic [2003]; VanLehn [2006]).