Higher Education Curricula: Investigating the Framework of an Expert Systems Model

By Trumble, Robert R.; Tudor, Thomas R. et al. | Educational Research Quarterly, June 1998 | Go to article overview

Higher Education Curricula: Investigating the Framework of an Expert Systems Model


Trumble, Robert R., Tudor, Thomas R., Flowers, Lamont A., Educational Research Quarterly


The uthors examine how experts systems obtain and process information, and use and expert systems exucational model as one way to consider how universities can approach overall education. We begin by identifying three main goals of education, and with these goals in mind, assess the current state of education. We then examine how the expert system approach to information processing can address this present condition based on these goals. Our data was gathered by analyzing the curricula of fifty schools in terms of the course offerings that directly address the various components of processing information involved in learning. It was found that many universities do not offer courses that directly impact the many critical ohases of information processing used in learning as identified by our proposed educational experts systems model.

There has been considerable attention given to the curricula offered at universities. The authors contend that the subject matter of the curricula is important, but of equal, often neglected, importance is understanding the ways of means that permit students to be more effocoemt learners. Therefore, my focus of this article is on the process of learning in higher education - improving the learning ability of university and college students.

There are numerous curricula being offered at the post-high school level. This diversity would be of a greater strength if comparable intellectual and learning tools were also developed. We are primarily concerned with investigating ways by which the learning process should be advanced. Consequently, this paper outlines the critical functions of the educational process to highlight descriptively the important areas through which student goal-attainment is improved.

As a means for discussing the critical functions, we rely on expert systems models because they provide innovative approaches for education, even though the models are rarely employed in this fashion. There are three primary reasons that learning methods, as opposed to subject matter, are important:

A. Past inadequacies in how students were educated.

B. Present inabilities to recall information (memory limitations).

C. Future rapid change which will require continuous learning.

By inavestigating the frame work of an expert system in terms of the educational process, we can emphasize the relevant components of how students learn and manipulate information. As educators we must first focus on clear goals which will serve as targets at which to aim. In previous research on strategic planning, published in the Fall/Winter 1994 Volume of Planning and Changing, we found that many edcational goals were unfocused, abstract, and rarely proiritized. Our current objective is to get educators to understand the learning process better, and thereby help them gain a different perspective of student knowledgebuilding, in the hopes of creating a more advanced educational system in response to the goals identified below.

Educational Goals

The researchers submit three fundamental educational goals for consideration by higher education:

Maximize human potential. Universities should assist in the development of their students to reach their full academic potential. This is the most important goal of the three outlines in this paper, because it relates to every student irrespective of curriculum or major. As educators, do we significantly assist the student to achieve his or her potential? This can be partially measured through alumni and employer surveys.

Continual Growth. Since change is moving at an ever faster pace, students need to continue to learn and grow after graduation. Stated simply, what we need to know today may be very different from what we will need to know tomorrow. Do we give our students the tools to learn efficiently after they leave us? Again, longitudinal studies of graduates would provide some insight into this question. …

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