Supporting Educational Software Design with Knowledge-Rich Tools

In IJAIED 10 (1): "Part II of the Special Issue on Authoring Systems for Intelligent Tutoring Systems"

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Several questions have emerged surrounding the design of authoring tools for instructional software that have helped frame an on-going dialog within the community. One such question is how specific or customized an authoring tool should be with respect to the range of applications it can support. One project that comes down on the side of specificity is IDLE-Tool, which guides authors through the process of creating an Investigate and Decide Learning Environment. Despite the narrow focus, though, the original instantiation of this tool lacked any real knowledge of the investigation process and its components. An add-on to this tool supplies an Investigation Map (Imap) that brings a richer representational scheme to the underlying tool. This article summarizes the IDLE-Tool work and introduces a set of primitives that capture the structure of a simplified form of investigation. The functioning of the tool after being enhanced with Imap is presented in detail, and a limited knowledge base of investigation components is described.