Teaching Expertise is at the Core of ITS Research
10 (3): "'Best of ITS 98' Special Issue "
Abstract. To design efficient, flexible and user-adaptable learning environments, we need to
embed a great deal of knowledge into them. This paper emphasises the teacher's knowledge,
which encompasses all the expertise of the teacher or of the trainer. Thus it is broader than that
which is usually called tutoring knowledge. We start with a description of several facets of
teaching expertise and of various implementations that have been described in the ITS literature.
Then we describe in more detail some prototypes that were built by our research team during the
past ten years. We focus on the benefits of having practitioners on the design teams in order to
provide us with their teaching expertise. We provide a framework for organising this knowledge
into categories based on different viewpoints. Using this framework, we discuss the acquisition
and modelling problem; in our view commonly shared ontologies in the domain have not yet
been fully developed. Finally, we propose architectures suitable for reflecting teacher's
knowledge, moving from the traditional, but old “four modules model” to more up to date
proposals such as agent models and environments open to teachers. Our conclusion is that much
has been accomplished, but the context is rapidly changing, especially in terms of
communication and co-operation. Thus major research initiatives need to be undertaken to face
these new challenges. Our task becomes LARGER, not SMALLER.