Using A Simulated Student for Instructional Design

In IJAIED 8 (2)

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In this paper, I describe how a cognitive model was used as a simulated student to help design lessons for training circuit board assemblers. The model was built in the Soar cognitive architecture, and was initially endowed with only an ability to learn instructions and prerequisite knowledge for the task. Five lessons, and a total of 81 instructions for teaching expert assembly were developed by iteratively drafting and testing instructions with the simulated student. The resulting instructions were in a canonical form, so they were embellished to create humanly palatable lessons using qualitative insights from the simulated student's model of learning from instruction. The constraints imposed by Soar exposed where learning can be difficult for students. During the design process, six types of problems were found and corrected. The paper concludes by reviewing some interesting characteristics of a cognitive architecture-based simulated student.