The Behavior of Tutoring Systems

In IJAIED 16 (3)

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Tutoring systems are described as having two loops. The outer loop executes once for each task, where a task usually consists of solving a complex, multi-step problem. The inner loop executes once for each step taken by the student in the solution of a task. The inner loop can give feedback and hints on each step. The inner loop can also assess the student's evolving competence and update a student model, which is used by the outer loop to select a next task that is appropriate for the student. For those who know little about tutoring systems, this description is meant as a demystifying introduction. For tutoring system experts, this description illustrates that although tutoring systems differ widely in their task domains, user interfaces, software structures, knowledge bases, etc., their behaviors are in fact quite similar.