Intelligent Tutoring Systems: Lessons Learned

Intelligent Tutoring Systems: Lessons Learned

Intelligent Tutoring Systems: Lessons Learned

Intelligent Tutoring Systems: Lessons Learned


The word "communication" conjures up such diverse images: telephones, computers, television, therapy sessions, intimate relations. Whether a message is fashioned from the grunts of cave men arguing, or reaches you after passing through computers and space, messages use some form of language to establish meaning. This book is organized around the topics that help to institute such meaning. It presents the most current and interesting thinking about language functions to direct us toward the various selective realities we inhabit.

The text is designed to introduce students to key topics such as meaning, discourse, coherence, language and mind, history of language, and communication codes. It organizes these issues around a focus on discourse and the structure of texts. There is less concentration on language and social categories like sex or class and more on how communicators use language as a resource to stitch a message together. The volume was written to fill the gap between strategic language used to achieve a goal and formal structures that are the scaffolding upon which we build messages. One of the few works that treats language as the fundamental resource of communication, this book will meet the needs of many in the area of language and discourse.


In October of 1986 the small village of Smugglers Notch in Vermont became for three days the Intelligent Tutoring center of the world. Gathered there for a review of ongoing research in artificial intelligence applications to training and instruction were many of the world's leading authorities and participants in the development of really practical Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS). For a brief time we considered ourselves the Vermont Intelligent Tutoring Association (VITA), an acronym that seemed appropriate from two perspectives: one, the purpose of the workshop in the context of a curriculum vitae -- the "lessons learned" from life and experience; and the other, the abor vita -- the tree of life showing the pedigree of the many exciting ideas in the field of ITS. Perhaps a third, more subdued current also energized the acronym VITA; the notion that intelligent systems for training and instruction were truly coming to life.

We met to share the many lessons learned: our experiences, knowledge, and insights from many diverse, large and small research efforts. The editors were embarking on an undertaking funded by the U.S. Army to produce an ITS (MACH-III) for training maintenance techniques on a HAWK radar system. Aspects of this project are described in several of the chapters in this volume. We hoped that a compilation of several prominent research efforts and, in particular, the lessons that other researchers guiding those efforts learned from their experiences would in turn guide the design and development of the MACH-III project.

Our expectations were overwhelmed by the experience. Several large projects were well underway and their findings and analyses did not merely meet the requirements for this particular workshop, but went a long way toward defining the state of the field. The field was in fact tremendously active and productive. It had not been described thoroughly since Sleeman and Brown's (1982) landmark . . .

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