Optimising ITS Behaviour with Bayesian Networks and Decision Theory

In IJAIED 12 (2)

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We propose and demonstrate a methodology for building tractable normative intelligent tutoring systems (ITSs). A normative ITS uses a Bayesian network for long-term student modelling and decision theory to select the next tutorial action. Because normative theories are a general framework for rational behaviour, they can be used to both define and apply learning theories in a rational, and therefore optimal, way. This contrasts to the more traditional approach of using an ad-hoc scheme to implement the learning theory. A key step of the methodology is the induction and the continual adaptation of the Bayesian network student model from student performance data, a step that is distinct from other recent Bayesian net approaches in which the network structure and probabilities are either chosen beforehand by an expert, or by efficiency considerations. The methodology is demonstrated by a description and evaluation of CAPIT, a normative constraint-based tutor for English capitalisation and punctuation. Our evaluation results show that a class using the full normative version of CAPIT learned the domain rules at a faster rate than the class that used a non-normative version of the same system.