From Design to Implementation to Practice a Learning by Teaching System: Betty’s Brain

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This paper presents an overview of 10 years of research with the Betty’s Brain computer-based learning environment. We discuss the theoretical basis for Betty’s Brain and the learning-by-teaching paradigm. We also highlight our key research findings, and discuss how these findings have shaped subsequent research. Throughout the course of this research, our goal has been to help students become effective and independent science learners. In general, our results have demonstrated that the learning by teaching paradigm implemented as a computer based learning environment (specifically the Betty’s Brain system) provides a social framework that engages students and helps them learn. However, students also face difficulties when going about the complex tasks of learning, constructing, and analyzing their learned science models. We have developed approaches for identifying and supporting students who have difficulties in the environment, and we are actively working toward adding more adaptive scaffolding functionality to support student learning.