The University of Edinburgh -
Division of Informatics
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Research Paper #711

Title:Incorporating Learning Issues into Computer Assisted Education
Authors:Bull,S; Musson,T
Date:Jun 1994
Presented:In the Proceedings of the 29th Annual International Conference of the Association for Educational and Training Technology, April, 1994
Abstract:Traditional computer assisted learning (CAL) programs tend to be very limited as they take little account of real learning issues. If CAL software aims to facilitate students' learning of some domain, it should itself 'know' both the domain material and the manner in which students acquire this knowledge. it cannot necessarily be assumed that simple question/answer sequences, for example, actually lead to understanding and therefore the lasting acquisition of knowledge. The advantages of using an intelligent learning environment instead of a traditional CAL program are that it has a better 'understanding' of pedagogic issues. The main weakness of conventional CAL is its rigidity. For example: 1. How do you take account of the different background knowledge which will necessarily be found among any group of students ? 2. How can you deal with different individual approaches to learning ? 3. How does the program know what aspects of the domain the student has learnt ? 4. What should the program do if students react differently than expected ? 5. How can the system diagnose students problems ? This paper will discuss these questions in the context of an intelligent learning environment for foreign language acquisition.

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