Adaptive Learning Environments UG4/MSc 2011-2012

Assessed assignment 1

You should spend about 12 hours on each assignment  (maximum 16 hours). Coursework accounts for 30% of the credit available, the examination is worth 70%. Two coursework assignments are set for 4th year students and 3 for MSc students.

The deadline for submission is: now Monday 27th February 2012 (week 6) 4pm

Submit the assignment either by hand to the ITO office, or using the submit program (the latter is strongly preferred).

    submit  ale1 1 filename-of-your-submission

where 1 is the assignment number. In the latter case your submission should be  a  .pdf file.

The first assignment has two parts:

    A. The evaluation and comparison of two existing systems to be chosen from the list below.
    B. The consideration of their suitability as models for a new problem.

Part A: evaluation and comparison of existing systems

You have been given the remit of preparing a report on two systems, selected from list of 6 given below. They should be compared with each other in relation to all aspects (see the questions below).

Your task is to present a comparison of the features of each system, and to comment on the limitations of each. 

A number of references are provided for each that are available on-line. (See the course reading page: course reading page.) Most of them are web versions of published papers, so please cite the published form (NOT the web page) when citing. If you do cite a web page (e.g. a project page rather than a publication), please state when it was accessed in the list of references. Look at various research papers to see how this is done. Citations in the text of the form (authors, year) are strongly preferred (rather than just numbers), see APA or NATBIB styles, or any Psychology or Cognitive Science journal.

For further references, start by searching on the author names, or by looking in the International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education (the main library subscribes to the on-line version), or in various conference proceedings (e.g. AIED and ITS conferences). You should find a number of these in the library and online. Then look at the papers that give more detail about each system.

In relation to the following questions, THE TWO SYSTEMS SHOULD BE COMPARED.

1.    What are the goals of the learning environment or approach? What is it intended to teach? What is the context in which the teaching is intended to take place?

2.    Who are the intended learners? Does the environment adapt to or customise its teaching for the learners in any way (explicitly or implicitly)? Is it targetted to a group of users or individuals (or neither)?

4.     What approach does each take to teaching? Is the success of each environment in teaching evaluated - if so, what conclusions are drawn?

5.     How does the system interact with the user? Describe an example interaction.

In all cases refer to methods or techniques used, and cite the relevant literature.


References for the assignment are given on the course reading page.  A few references are given in each case, though you may find others that are more helpful. The systems to choose from are:

1.  Crystal Island - outbreak

2. tactical language and culture training systems


4. The ANDES tutor

5. animalwatch

6. Teachable agents

PART B: suitability as models for a new problem

You are now asked to make a recommendation for one of these two systems as a basis on which to model an Adaptive Learning Environment for the task of designing a tutor or learning environment for training first aiders. The goal of a first aider is:
    "to give assistance or treatment to a casualty for any injury or
sudden illness before the arrival of an ambulance, doctor or otherqualified person.''

(First Aid Manual, St. John Ambulance, St. Andrew's Ambulance Association and British Red Cross, 1992)

Consider both of the environments reviewed as the basis for design for this task. The focus of the system may be on any aspect of the task (i.e. it does not have to try and do everything!).

1. For the task chosen, specify the task requirements: that is give a  clear statement of what the task entails, the scope
of the task, the criteria for completing it, and the analysis of the task (steps involved), and how the resulting ALE designed would be customised to and adapt to the task.

2. Specify who the learners would be for this task, and the ways in which the ALE would adapt to them.

3. Sketch an initial design for the proposed ALE, using one of the systems reviewed as the basis for the design.
Give examples of how the ALE might interact with learner, and ways in which it could adapt.

4. Comment on the suitability of the system selected as the basis for the proposed ALE. In what ways would it be well suited? In what ways would it be more difficult to adapt? What changes would need to be made? How feasible would these be?

5. Comment briefly on why the other system considered was less suitable than the one chosen.

You should not spend more than about 16 hours on this assignment. Your report should be 4-6 pages (c. 2-3,000 words) long


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