The University of Edinburgh -
Division of Informatics
Forrest Hill & 80 South Bridge

MSc Thesis #93116

Title:Pubs: Exploiting Conceptual Conflict in Learning Prolog Unification
Date: 1993
Abstract:This dissertation describes PUBS (Prolog Unification via Bridging and SEE), which is the implementation of two teaching strategies (Bridging and SEE) designed to remediate novice misconceptions about Prolog unification. The first strategy, Bridging, is based upon the "bridging analogies" technique, and aims to overcome misconceptions by appealing to students existing knowledge, and extending this knowledge to more difficult situations via analogies. The second strategy, SEE, is based on the hypothesis that misconceptions arise either because the situation places too great a demand on short-term memory resources or because the student's knowledge of the necessary concept is either missing or incomplete. Accordingly, if a misconception is suspected, the system presents simplified situations and explains the missing concept if necessary. The suitability of teaching Prolog unification using these strategies is considered. A critical evaluation of the two systems is then provided, both in terms of implementation and pedagogical effectiveness. Finally, suggestions for improvement and extensions to the current system are proposed.

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