Intelligent Learning Environments

Teachable Agents

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The Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt (CTGV) is developing the Jasper Woodbury Problem Solving Series, a videodisc based program designed to motivate students and help them learn to think and reason mathematically about complex realistic problems. As part of this project, we are developing a collection of computer-based learning environments that incorporate the project's constructivist theories, generative learning techniques, and anchoring macrocontexts into an Intelligent Learning Environment design. The resulting paradigm Macrocontexts Plus Microworlds (MPMs), where microworld exploration and problem solving is anchored within an interesting macrocontext.

Two systems we have constructed and tested are:

  1. AdventurePlayer, a trip planning microworld that can be anchored to a Jasper macrocontext. This system allows students to construct, evaluate, and reason about solutions to trip planning problems, and
  2. SmartTools, also linked to a trip planning microworld, where students study and develop graphical tools to quickly answer various questions about distance, time, rate and gas consumption. This system has also been used as a test bed for studying the richness of computer traces for protocol analysis.

Both systems incorporate beneficial aspects of both intelligent tutoring systems and cognitive tools through reflective interaction, scaffolding, and coaching.

Current work in this area combines insights from recent work in computer science, psychology and education to create and study "teachable agents" (TA) environments in mathematics and science. The hallmark of these environments is that students learn by instructing "teachable agents" who then venture forth in simulation-based exploratory environments and attempt to solve problems that require knowledge relevent to the disciplines of mathematics or science

An other ONR-sponsored project for studying student understanding of AC-circuit concepts. The goal is to develop appropriate instructional methodologies and computer-based environments for training technicians in complex maintenance and troubleshooting tasks.

To contact the Cognitive and Technology group send Email to

Last modified: 29 September 1999 / About this document
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