Intelligent Tutoring Systems: Best Practices

Intelligent Tutoring Systems: Best Practices

Aytürk Keles (Atatürk University, Turkey) and Ali Keles (Atatürk University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61692-008-1.ch001
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Today’s education is faced by new challenges and yet new innovations. The key area where innovations are introduced lies on instructional methodology. It becomes necessary for the educators to incorporate new trends and methodologies in instructional methodology. One such aspect that came into existence is intelligent tutorial system. In this chapter, Firstly, the appearance of the ITS notion and related literature review will be handled. After then general architecture of Intelligent Tutoring Systems will be presented and information about improvements on ITS will be given up to now. And also best ITS practices will be mentioned, too. In this sense, ZOSMAT - a detailed sample application - will be explained as a demonstration of how an ITS is designed. ZOSMAT can be used for the purpose of either individual learning or real classroom environment with the guidance of a human tutor during a formal education process. This characteristic of ZOSMAT distinguishes itself from other intelligent tutoring systems (Keles et al., 2009). Finally, challenges and problems in the area of ITS and future of ITS will be discussed.
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Instructor-led training (ILT) was the main training method, before computers were widely available. ILT didn’t allowed students to get away from the class focus on their studies and to interact with their instructor and classmates. However, in general ILT meant high costs and downtime during office hours, leading training provides to search for better way to train.

Such as windows, Macintosh, CD-ROMs and PowerPoint were the technological advancements of the Multimedia era. Thanks to CD-ROM training more transportable and visually engaging, Computer-Based Training (CBT) courses were delivered. The anytime, anywhere availability of CD-ROMs also provided time and cost savings that instructor-led training (ILT) couldn’t, and helped reshape training industry. Despite these benefits, CD-ROM courses lacked instructor interaction and dynamic presentations- making the experience slower and less engaging for students.

The rapid growth of the Internet and World Wide Web offers new opportunities and challenges for many areas. One of them is education. Web-based education has numerous advantages such as the convenience of taking a course without leaving the workplace or home and the reduced cost (Berz, Erdelyi & Hoefkens, 1999).

Technological advances – including JAVA/IP network applications, rich streaming media, high-bandwidth access, and advanced web site design – are revolutionizing the training industry. Today, live instructor-led training (ILT) via the web can be combined with real-time mentoring, improved learner services, and up-to-date, engaging, “born on the Web” content to create a highly-effective, multi-dimensional learning environment. These sophisticated training solutions provide even greater cost savings, higher quality learning experiences, and are setting the standard for next wave of e-learning.

E-learning systems have been widely adopted by numerous organizations in recent years. It has also been proved to be effective and efficient to improve learners’ knowledge. The most attractive characteristic of e-learning system is that it can provide flexible learning path depending on the learner’s skills and learning abilities. Such flexibility can further eliminate some limitations so that learners can decide where and when to learn what materials according to their needs.

Although adopting e-learning systems have been widely accepted by organizations, there still exist some obstacles. For example, e-learning performance is difficult to be evaluated. Meanwhile, learner behavior changes so fast that predefined learning materials cannot catch up the learner’s needs. Furthermore, it is also difficult to design an e-learning system that meets all the learner’s needs because the computers are not human teachers that can make proper reactions when difficulty occurs. On the other hand, constructing e-learning systems require large amount of time, money, and human resources. Thus, it is required to improve the existed e-learning systems to maximize the learning result while reduces constructing costs as well.

Computational intelligent methodologies used in Intelligent Tutoring System are capable to remove the limitations mentioned above. Intelligent tutoring systems (ITSs) are computer programs that are designed to incorporate techniques from the AI community in order to provide tutors which know what they teach, who they teach and how to teach it.

Firstly, the appearance of the ITS notion and related literature review will be handled in this chapter. After then general architecture of Intelligent Tutoring Systems will be presented and information about improvements on ITS will be given up to now. In progressive parts of this chapter, the integration of ITS with Web oriented technologies will be referred by examples. And also best ITS practices will be mentioned, too. The following questions will be explained: How an ITS is designed, which components are used, how the requirements of a class are responded by a system, etc. Afterwards the problems of ITSs and possible improvements on ITS field will be emphasized.

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