Behavior Research Methods

, Volume 39, Issue 2, pp 224–232 | Cite as

iSTART 2: Improvements for efficiency and effectiveness

  • Irwin B. LevinsteinEmail author
  • Chutima Boonthum
  • Srinivasa P. Pillarisetti
  • Courtney Bell
  • Danielle S. McNamara
Articles From the SCiP Conference


iSTART (interactive strategy training for active reading and thinking) is a Web-based reading strategy trainer that develops students’ ability to self-explain difficult text as a means to improving reading comprehension. Its curriculum consists of modules presented interactively by pedagogical agents: an introduction to the basics of using reading strategies in the context of self-explanation, a demonstration of self-explanation, and a practice module in which the trainee generates self-explanations with feedback on the quality of reading strategies contained in the self-explanations. We discuss the objectives that guided the development of the second version of iSTART toward the goals of increased efficiency for the experimenters and effectiveness in the training. The more pedagogically challenging high school audience is accommodated by (1) a new introduction that increases interactivity, (2) a new demonstration with more and better focused scaffolding, and (3) a new practice module that provides improved feedback and includes a less intense but more extended regimen. Version 2 also benefits experimenters, who can set up and evaluate experiments with less time and effort, because pre- and posttesting has been fully computerized and the process of preparing a text for the practice module has been reduced from more than 1 person-week to about an hour’s time.


High School Student Latent Semantic Analysis Demonstration Module Target Sentence Reading Strategy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Psychonomic Society, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Irwin B. Levinstein
    • 1
    Email author
  • Chutima Boonthum
    • 2
  • Srinivasa P. Pillarisetti
    • 3
  • Courtney Bell
    • 3
  • Danielle S. McNamara
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceOld Dominion UniversityNorfolk
  2. 2.Hampton UniversityHampton
  3. 3.University of MemphisMemphis

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