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Inferring Concept Prerequisite Relations from Online Educational Resources

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

The Internet has rich and rapidly increasing sources of high quality educational content. Inferring prerequisite relations between educational concepts is required for modern large-scale online educational technology applications such as personalized recommendations and automatic curriculum creation. We present PREREQ, a new supervised learning method for inferring concept prerequisite relations. PREREQ is designed using latent representations of concepts obtained from the Pairwise Latent Dirichlet Allocation model, and a neural network based on the Siamese network architecture. PREREQ can learn unknown concept prerequisites from course prerequisites and labeled concept prerequisite data. It outperforms state-of-the-art approaches on benchmark datasets and can effectively learn from very less training data. PREREQ can also use unlabeled video playlists, a steadily growing source of training data, to learn concept prerequisites, thus obviating the need for manual annotation of course prerequisites.


Investigating Active Learning for Concept Prerequisite Learning

AAAI Conferences

Concept prerequisite learning focuses on machine learning methods for measuring the prerequisite relation among concepts. With the importance of prerequisites for education, it has recently become a promising research direction. A major obstacle to extracting prerequisites at scale is the lack of large-scale labels which will enable effective data-driven solutions. We investigate the applicability of active learning to concept prerequisite learning.We propose a novel set of features tailored for prerequisite classification and compare the effectiveness of four widely used query strategies. Experimental results for domains including data mining, geometry, physics, and precalculus show that active learning can be used to reduce the amount of training data required. Given the proposed features, the query-by-committee strategy outperforms other compared query strategies.


What Should I Learn First: Introducing LectureBank for NLP Education and Prerequisite Chain Learning

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Recent years have witnessed the rising popularity of Natural Language Processing (NLP) and related fields such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML). Many online courses and resources are available even for those without a strong background in the field. Often the student is curious about a specific topic but does not quite know where to begin studying. To answer the question of "what should one learn first," we apply an embedding-based method to learn prerequisite relations for course concepts in the domain of NLP. We introduce LectureBank, a dataset containing 1,352 English lecture files collected from university courses which are each classified according to an existing taxonomy as well as 208 manually-labeled prerequisite relation topics, which is publicly available. The dataset will be useful for educational purposes such as lecture preparation and organization as well as applications such as reading list generation. Additionally, we experiment with neural graph-based networks and non-neural classifiers to learn these prerequisite relations from our dataset.


Learning Concept Graphs from Online Educational Data

Journal of Artificial Intelligence Research

This paper addresses an open challenge in educational data mining, i.e., the problem of automatically mapping online courses from different providers (universities, MOOCs, etc.) onto a universal space of concepts, and predicting latent prerequisite dependencies (directed links) among both concepts and courses. We propose a novel approach for inference within and across course-level and concept-level directed graphs. In the training phase, our system projects partially observed course-level prerequisite links onto directed concept-level links; in the testing phase, the induced concept-level links are used to infer the unknown course-level prerequisite links. Whereas courses may be specific to one institution, concepts are shared across different providers. The bi-directional mappings enable our system to perform interlingua-style transfer learning, e.g. treating the concept graph as the interlingua and transferring the prerequisite relations across universities via the interlingua. Experiments on our newly collected datasets of courses from MIT, Caltech, Princeton and CMU show promising results.


MOOCRep: A Unified Pre-trained Embedding of MOOC Entities

arXiv.org Artificial Intelligence

Many machine learning models have been built to tackle information overload issues on Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) platforms. These models rely on learning powerful representations of MOOC entities. However, they suffer from the problem of scarce expert label data. To overcome this problem, we propose to learn pre-trained representations of MOOC entities using abundant unlabeled data from the structure of MOOCs which can directly be applied to the downstream tasks. While existing pre-training methods have been successful in NLP areas as they learn powerful textual representation, their models do not leverage the richer information about MOOC entities. This richer information includes the graph relationship between the lectures, concepts, and courses along with the domain knowledge about the complexity of a concept. We develop MOOCRep, a novel method based on Transformer language model trained with two pre-training objectives : 1) graph-based objective to capture the powerful signal of entities and relations that exist in the graph, and 2) domain-oriented objective to effectively incorporate the complexity level of concepts. Our experiments reveal that MOOCRep's embeddings outperform state-of-the-art representation learning methods on two tasks important for education community, concept pre-requisite prediction and lecture recommendation.