Augmented Conversation and Cognitive Apprenticeship Metamodel Based Intelligent Learning Activity Builder System




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De Montfort University


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Peer reviewed


This research focused on a formal (theory based) approach to designing Intelligent Tutoring System (ITS) authoring tool involving two specific conventional pedagogical theories—Conversation Theory (CT) and Cognitive Apprenticeship (CA). The research conceptualised an Augmented Conversation and Cognitive Apprenticeship Metamodel (ACCAM) based on apriori theoretical knowledge and assumptions of its underlying theories. ACCAM was implemented in an Intelligent Learning Activity Builder System (ILABS)—an ITS authoring tool. ACCAM’s implementation aims to facilitate formally designed tutoring systems, hence, ILABS―the practical implementation of ACCAM― constructs metamodels for Intelligent Learning Activity Tools (ILATs) in a numerical problem-solving context (focusing on the construction of procedural knowledge in applied numerical disciplines). Also, an Intelligent Learning Activity Management System (ILAMS), although not the focus of this research, was developed as a launchpad for ILATs constructed and to administer learning activities. Hence, ACCAM and ILABS constitute the conceptual and practical contributions that respectively flow from this research.

ACCAM’s implementation was tested through the evaluation of ILABS and ILATs within an applied numerical domain―the accounting domain. The evaluation focused on the key constructs of ACCAM―cognitive visibility and conversation, implemented through a tutoring strategy employing Process Monitoring (PM). PM augments conversation within a cognitive apprenticeship framework; it aims to improve the visibility of the cognitive process of a learner and infers intelligence in tutoring systems. PM was implemented via an interface that attempts to bring learner’s thought process to the surface. This approach contrasted with previous studies that adopted standard Artificial Intelligence (AI) based inference techniques. The interface-based PM extends the existing CT and CA work. The strategy (i.e. interface-based PM) makes available a new tutoring approach that aimed fine-grain (or step-wise) feedbacks, unlike the goal-oriented feedbacks of model-tracing. The impact of PM—as a preventive strategy (or intervention) and to aid diagnosis of learners’ cognitive process—was investigated in relation to other constructs from the literature (such as detection of misconception, feedback generation and perceived learning effectiveness). Thus, the conceptualisation and implementation of PM via an interface also contributes to knowledge and practice.

The evaluation of the ACCAM-based design approach and investigation of the above mentioned constructs were undertaken through users’ reaction/perception to ILABS and ILAT. This involved, principally, quantitative approach. However, a qualitative approach was also utilised to gain deeper insight. Findings from the evaluation supports the formal (theory based) design approach—the design of ILABS through interaction with ACCAM. Empirical data revealed the presence of conversation and cognitive visibility constructs in ILATs, which were determined through its behaviour during the learning process. This research identified some other theoretical elements (e.g. motivation, reflection, remediation, evaluation, etc.) that possibly play out in a learning process. This clarifies key conceptual variables that should be considered when constructing tutoring systems for applied numerical disciplines (e.g. accounting, engineering). Also, the research revealed that PM enhances the detection of a learner’s misconception and feedback generation. Nevertheless, qualitative data revealed that frequent feedbacks due to the implementation of PM could be obstructive to thought process at advance stage of learning. Thus, PM implementations should also include delayed diagnosis, especially for advance learners who prefer to have it on request. Despite that, current implementation allows users to turn PM off, thereby using alternative learning route. Overall, the research revealed that the implementation of interface-based PM (i.e. conversation and cognitive visibility) improved the visibility of learner’s cognitive process, and this in turn enhanced learning—as perceived.



Augmented Conversation, Cognitive Apprenticeship, Metamodeling, Builder System, Intelligent Tutoring Systems, ITS Authoring Tool, ACCAM



Research Institute