Advanced Interactive Learning Environments UG4/MSc 2017/18

Notes on the form and style of the examination

updated 10th may 2018

A. COURSE MATERIAL can basically be divided into:

  1. CORE ESSENTIAL material: necessary to know and understand and be able to critically evaluate this to pass:

     - Any reading marked as "required": see the course readings page
    - The content of the lectures and any in-class activities
    - The content of the student-led seminars, including the readings for each seminar group
    - General information about the domains, goals, user groups, methods, and evaluations of the four "core systems" (Crystal Island, Autotutor/ Autotutor emotions, the family of Cognitive Tutors, and the Betty's Brain teachable agent).

    BE AWARE that all of the essential material is directly examinable, and that the examination will ask you to support your work with details!

  2. USEFUL BACKGROUND material - this material will be indicated as "suggested readings", and should help improve your overall understanding of the course systems and concepts, giving additional examples which may help you to answer the exam questions. Some suggested readings will cover systems other than the four "core" systems, or address topic-unit concepts (e.g. user modelling) across a range of systems or over time.
  3. OTHER  MATERIALS (of wider interest). This category includes general resources, such as books or paper collections where you can find a range of information, project websites, other references from lectures (that are not assigned readings), etc etc etc
See the course readings page for more detail

B. SYSTEMS you should know about ......

The four "core systems"  are:
the family of the COGNITIVE TUTORS
BETTY'S BRAIN teachable agent
2. Background:
In addition you should know something about the following (included in some of the required readings and in lectures):
The ANDES tutor (VanLehn)
STANDUP (Pain, Ritchie, Waller)


Alelo Serious Games, e.g. Foreign Language and Culture Training Systems (Johnson, Alelo)

3. Other systems: mentioned in the course, of wider interest:

        Ambient Wood (Rogers)
        Bird Hero (Axelsson)
Adventure Author (Robertson)
        Conception (Conlon)
        QUEST (White and Frediksen)

        WHY (Stevens and Collins) 
        SOPHIE (Brown)
        SCHOLAR (Carbonell)

        ARTCHECK (Sentence)
(and some others in the lectures....)


The exam will comprise 3 questions, to be completed in 2 hours. In all questions, credit will be given for detail; for reference to relevant literature and research; for reference to systems; for use of examples; for discussion of strengths and limitations of approaches considered; and for justification of conclusions.

Question 1 is compulsory and will consist of a number of parts. They  may ask about specific concepts or systems or methods, in relation to the lecture materials and the core systems and may also have design aspects (or systems or studies). There may also be parts that are more essay like or relate to design questions (see below).

There will then be a choice of two questions: either Question 2 or Question 3. These questions can be essay questions or design questions, or a combination. They  may also ask about specific concepts or systems or methods, in relation to the lecture materials and the core systems They may similar to material in the two assignments.

Essay questions will be similar to the assignments in that they ask you to give explanations, or suggest solutions to problems, or discuss or critically evaluate issues, based on evidence from the field--  you can draw on ANY evidence from any system(s), papers, and studies, as long as this evidence is relevant, detailed, and accurate. Simply memorising isolated facts about systems will not be a very good strategy for essays, as you will see if you look at previous years' exams. Thinking in terms of argumentation, evidence, and the course's "big questions" is likely to be a much better strategy (and also a far more interesting one).

The design questions will draw on design of all or part of system, or on studies to inform the design or evaluation of a system, and will may require knowledge of existing systems to base the design on, or to compare. It may involve specification of task requirements, learner group, example interactions, and methods for design and evaluation (formative and summative).

The format of questions will be similar to those in past  Advanced Interactive Learning Environments (AILE) and Adaptive Learning Environments (MSc/UG4) exam papers. 


In all questions higher marks will be awarded for discussion and evaluation of material rather than simple regurgitation of information.

CREDIT given for:
 - detail
 - reference to relevant literature and research
 - reference to systems
 - use of examples
 - critical comparisons
 - discussion of strengths and limitations
 - justification of conclusions


Home : Teaching : Courses : Ale1 

Informatics Forum, 10 Crichton Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9AB, Scotland, UK
Tel: +44 131 651 5661, Fax: +44 131 651 1426, E-mail:
Please contact our webadmin with any comments or corrections. Logging and Cookies
Unless explicitly stated otherwise, all material is copyright © The University of Edinburgh