Tutorial Dialog in an Equation Solving Intelligent Tutoring System

  • Leena M. Razzaq
  • Neil T. Heffernan
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 3220)


A new intelligent tutoring system is presented for the domain of solving equations. This system is novel, because it is an intelligent equation-solving tutor that combines a cognitive model of the domain with a model of dialog-based tutoring. The tutorial model is based on the observation of an experienced human tutor and captures tutorial strategies specific to the domain of equation-solving. In this context, a tutorial dialog is the equivalent of breaking down problems into simpler steps and asking new questions before proceeding to the next step. The resulting system, named E-tutor, was compared, via a randomized controlled experiment, to a traditional model-tracing tutor that does not engage students in dialog. Preliminary results using a very small sample size showed that E-tutor capabilities performed better than the control. This set of preliminary results, though not statistically significant, shows promising opportunities to improve learning performance by adding tutorial dialog capabilities to ITSs. The system is available at


Computer Science Department Intelligent Tutor System Cognitive Tutor Worcester Polytechnic Institute Human Tutor 
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

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leena M. Razzaq
    • 1
  • Neil T. Heffernan
    • 1
  1. 1.Computer Science DepartmentWorcester Polytechnic InstituteWorcesterUSA

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