The roles of models in Artificial Intelligence and Education research: a prospective view

In IJAIED 11 (2): "Special Issue on AIED 2010"

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Abstract. In this paper I speculate on the near future of research in Artificial Intelligence and Education (AIED), on the basis of three uses of models of educational processes: models as scientific tools, models as components of educational artefacts, and models as bases for design of educational artefacts. In terms of the first role, I claim that the recent shift towards studying collaborative learning situations needs to be accompanied by an evolution of the types of theories and models that are used, beyond computational models of individual cognition. In terms of the second role, I propose that in order to integrate computer-based learning systems into schools, we need to 'open up' the curriculum to educational technology, 'open up' educational technologies to actors in educational systems and 'open up' those actors to the technology (i.e. by training them). In terms of the third role, I propose that models can be bases for design of educational technologies by providing design methodologies and system components, or by constraining the range of tools that are available for learners. In conclusion I propose that a defining characteristic of AIED research is that it is, or should be, concerned with all three roles of models, to a greater or lesser extent in each case.