An Authoring System for Intelligent Tutors for Procedural Skills
Rowe, Neil C.
Galvin, Thomas P.
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Successful intelligent tutoring systems can now provide powerful learning environments, but have been hard to transfer to other instructional domains. Conventional authoring systems for tutors, on the other hand, can build a wide range of tutors, but generally do little to tailor instruction to the student. We describe MEBuilder and METUTOR, software tools with the advantages of both. MEBuilder is an authoring tool for procedural-skill tutors that uses object-oriented methods and automatic planning to prototype tutors quickly, and METUTOR is a run-time environment for its tutors. The tutors built offer simulations for "learning by doing" and use an extended form of means-ends analysis to provide intelligent focused tutoring. Using MEBuilder itself requires no programming, only answers to a few questions. It also features library management, inference of menus of relevant teacher options, designation of student exercises, and automatic error and consistency checking on teacher specifications. Experiments demonstrated that subjects could construct tutors faster with MEBuilder than with a conventional authoring system, despite little training. MEBuilder and METUTOR can be valuable tools for training in the specialized procedural skills of increasingly technological societies.
A revised and improved version of this paper appeared in IEEE Intelligent Systems in 1998.
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