Modeling Classroom Behaviors in Software Agents

Modeling Classroom Behaviors in Software Agents

David Gibson (CurveShift Inc., USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-322-7.ch007
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In order for a digital simulation to provide an artificial teaching environment there needs to be a computational model of the act of teaching interacting with software agents. The COVE model integrates Cognitive science models, the OCEAN model of psychology and OCC model of emotions, Visual-Auditory- Kinesthetic perception and the Environment (social and physical expectations) for learning. A context for the COVE agent model is provided by the How People Learn (HPL) theory of learning and Behaviorist-Cognitivist-Constructivist (BCC) instructional framework. This chapter presents design considerations for computationally modeling COVE to enable agents to possess the psychological, physical, cognitive, and social aspects of learning that enable the representation of behaviors of students in learning environments and to allow simulation of HPL-BCC theories of instruction and learning.
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A groundswell of research and interest indicates a wide range of benefits of educative games and simulations. The research addresses why we should build educative games, and what options and frameworks are available for building them with a technical and artistic balance of pedagogy, simulation and game elements. Among the benefits are practice-based development of procedural knowledge, motivational self-directed experiences, inquiry-based trial-and-error learning with immediate feedback on progress, and tangible results (Prensky 2002; Beck and Wade 2004; Gee 2004; Squire 2005). Social theorists add that learning in simulated environments engages participants in new forms of identity, social negotiation, and virtual economies while promoting and practicing skills needed for a knowledge-based, globally-networked society (Galarneau and Zibit 2006; Jones and Bronack 2006). Technical and theoretical entrepreneurs furthermore envision a radical transformation of e-learning from text-based to epistemic experience-based learning with vastly increased value to participants due to automated analysis, personalized feedback, and adaptive artificial intelligence (Aldrich 2005; Becker 2006; Gibson 2006; Stevens 2006; Van Eck 2006; Shaffer 2007). These developments suggest ways that teachers can benefit and education can be improved through games and simulations, including artificial teaching environments.

The plan of the chapter begins by outlining a cognitive science framework of learning and presenting a triad of broad instructional philosophies. Following that, the COVE model of agent-based learning is outlined, and several alternative agent modeling approaches are briefly described and compared with implications for contributing to the field of simulations for improving teaching. The second half of the chapter provides a broad outline for situating the agent model of a learner in a context that includes the nature of knowledge and the role of the social community in shaping learning.

A Cognitive Science Framework for Learning

Four broad arenas of learning theory have emerged in cognitive science and the research on teaching and learning, outlined in a National Research Council report on “How People Learn” (HPL) framework (Bransford, Brown and Cocking 2000). The HPL framework elements are:

  • The characteristics of the learner

  • The nature of knowledge

  • The role of a community in shaping expertise

  • The role of feedback in shaping performance

It is important to point out that the HPL framework (Figure 1) is not a model of transmission of knowledge to students. Rather, it is a whole-systems perspective on how people learn, a subset of which takes place in traditional classrooms. We should not expect HPL theory to inform the computational modeling of teaching, but it has much to offer models of the act and context of learning.

Figure 1.

The HPL (How People Learn) framework represented as a fully connected geometry. Folding the structure reveals that each facet is connected to all remaining facets

The whole-systems view of the HPL framework suggests that a simulation to improve teaching should be personalized and adapted for maximum effectiveness with many different kinds of prospective teachers. It needs to reflect how experienced teachers work with their own and students’ existing knowledge and how students develop new knowledge through modeling and experimentation. The simulation needs to be contextualized within real situations and embedded in real communities of peers and experts who communicate and shape one’s thinking. Finally, the simulation needs to be laced with ample, timely, accurate, expert feedback to guide one’s development of knowledge-in-action.

Complete Chapter List

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Editorial Advisory Board
Table of Contents
Rhonda Christensen, Gerald Knezek
Chapter 1
A Simulation Primer  (pages 1-24)
Katrin Becker, James R. Parker
This chapter provides an introduction to digital simulations for those interested in using or designing them for instructional purposes. There has... Sample PDF
A Simulation Primer
Chapter 2
Youngkyun Baek
This chapter expands upon the definition of a simulation with two categories: experiential and symbolic. It discusses the interactive, experiential... Sample PDF
Digital Simulation in Teaching and Learning
Chapter 3
Peter R. Albion
Interaction is fundamental to the learning process and game-like 3D online spaces present opportunities for enhancing learning through supporting a... Sample PDF
Virtual Spaces for Teaching and Learning
Chapter 4
David Williamson Shaffer
Multiculturalism is an essential tool for democratic citizenship in a world made ever more closely interconnected by information technologies. In... Sample PDF
Computers and the End of Progressive Education
Chapter 5
Celina Byers
The desired outcome of instructional game design is to combine the powerful attraction of games and the proven effectiveness of instructional system... Sample PDF
Combining Instructional Design and Game Design
Chapter 6
Helyn Gould, Michael Hughes, Paul Maharg, Emma Nicol
Game-based learning and simulation is a powerful mode of learning, used by industries as diverse as aviation and health sciences. While there are... Sample PDF
The Narrative Event Diagram: A Tool for Designing Professional Simulations
Chapter 7
David Gibson
In order for a digital simulation to provide an artificial teaching environment there needs to be a computational model of the act of teaching... Sample PDF
Modeling Classroom Behaviors in Software Agents
Chapter 8
Sara Dexter
The new technology-enhanced conception of assessment stands in contrast to the traditional view of assessments as tests of a learner’s ability to... Sample PDF
Design Principles for Interactive Learning Environments with Embedded Formative Assessments
Chapter 9
Penny deByl
Three-dimensional virtual learning environments provide students with pedagogic experiences beyond traditional two-dimensional textbook and Web page... Sample PDF
Hybrid 2D/3D Development of Interactive Simulations
Chapter 10
Len Annetta, James Minogue, Shawn Holmes, Meng-Tzu Cheng, Elizabeth Folta, Marta Klesath
This chapter will provide concrete examples of how a research group at North Carolina State University is using case studies as the... Sample PDF
Using Case Studies as the Narrative to Game Design and Development
Chapter 11
Mark Girod
Teacher education is currently facing pressures to demonstrate efficacy in preparing teachers who can affect P-12 student learning gains. Teacher... Sample PDF
Exploring Teacher Problem Solving Using Simulation
Chapter 12
Donguk Cheong, Bokyeong Kim
A computer simulation for improving teaching is expected to remove the potential negative effects on real students while creating an environment... Sample PDF
A Simulation for Improving Teachers' Motivational Skills
Chapter 13
Damián Piccolo, Anna Oskorus
Nearly half of all new teachers leave the field of education within the first five years (Ingersoll, 2003; Alliance for Excellent Education, 2005).... Sample PDF
Designing Commercial Simulations for Teachers
Chapter 14
Scott J. Warren, Richard A. Stein
This chapter discusses the design and use of simulated teaching experiences contextualized through role-play in a multi-user virtual environment as... Sample PDF
Simulating Teaching Experience with Role-Play
Chapter 15
Bokyeong Kim, Donguk Cheong
This chapter presents the theory, structure, and development process used in designing a teaching simulation. simClass was designed to help teachers... Sample PDF
simClass: Simulate Your Class Before You Teach
Chapter 16
Karen Schrier, Charles K. Kinzer
Teacher education that emphasizes the understanding and assessment of ethics can support the creation of an ethically aware and critically engaged... Sample PDF
Using Digital Games to Develop Ethical Teachers
Chapter 17
Shelby P. Morge
Recently adopted 21st Century goals stress the importance of preparing students for a globally competitive society by providing them with... Sample PDF
Modeling in the Classroom Using Squeak Etoys
Chapter 18
Mary Jo Dondlinger, Scott Joseph Warren
This chapter discusses Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) as simulated experiences, and presents the conceptual framework that informed the design and... Sample PDF
Alternate Reality Games as Simulations
Chapter 19
Caitlin Kelleher
Self-directed, open-ended projects can enable students to pursue their own interests and lead to deep learning. However, it can be difficult to... Sample PDF
Supporting Open-Ended Programming Assignments
Chapter 20
Kay Kyeongju Seo, Aimee Byk, Chris Collins
How can one bring cognitive apprenticeship into the virtual world? This chapter addresses how to construct a 3D online digital environment that... Sample PDF
Cognitive Apprenticeship Inspired Simulations
Chapter 21
Jae Yeob Jung, Hyung Sung Park
The purpose of this chapter is to explore how learning, by making games, can provide opportunities for higher-order thinking such as problem... Sample PDF
Learning by Doing via Game Making
Chapter 22
Christian Sebastian Loh, Jae Hwan Byun
Game Modification, or Modding, is a unique and valuable way of learning with digital games as well as a means to earn beginners’ stripes in the game... Sample PDF
Modding Neverwinter Nights Into Serious Games
Chapter 23
Teresa Franklin, David Chelberg, Chang Liu
Virtual environments are a topic of discussion for many in the business and commerce fields. However, K-12 school systems have been slow to embrace... Sample PDF
Changing Middle School Science through STEAM
Chapter 24
David Gibson
This chapter discusses how a teaching simulation can embody core characteristics of a complex system. It employs examples of specific frameworks and... Sample PDF
Complex Systems Concepts in Simulations
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