The MetaHistoReasoning Tool: Studying Domain-Specific Metacognitive Activities in an Intelligent Tutoring System for History

  • Eric G. Poitras
Part of the Intelligent Systems Reference Library book series (ISRL, volume 76)


This chapter reviews empirical research on the MetaHistoReasoning (MHRt) tool, an intelligent tutoring system that aims to support students in regulating their own understanding of historical events in accordance with disciplinary-based practices. The design of the system is guided by a domain-specific account of the metacognitive activities involved in learning while performing inquiries into the causes of historical events. The system relies on modularization as a mechanism for delivering instruction and promoting the development of metacognitive skills. The Training Module supports skill acquisition from examples, while the Inquiry Module facilitates skill practice and refinement through problem-solving. Both modules fulfill complementary roles in skill development, since the learning outcomes for a module determines subsequent learning processes. The modular nature of the system also allows flexibility in implementing novel approaches for instruction and testing that impact towards several aspects of skill development. A pedagogical agent interacts with the learner to facilitate the transition across each module as skills become increasingly sophisticated. The aim of our research program is to improve the interactive capabilities of the agent by building assessment mechanisms that target critical aspects along this transition as a means to intervene and foster skill development. As such, we provide an overview of trace measures and analyses that are used to study how learners set goals, use strategies, and monitor the outcomes in the context of their investigations. We will review recent advances in building assessment mechanisms that target these disciplinary-based activities in order to recommend pedagogical strategies for the virtual agent embedded in the MHRt tool.


MetaHistoReasoning tool Confusion Pedagogical agent Problem-solving Metacognitive tool Domain-specific Metacognition 



MetaHistoReasoning tool



I would like to thank Dr. Susanne Lajoie, my graduate research supervisor, for her guidance throughout the completion of this research project. I also would like to acknowledge contributions from the members of my doctoral thesis committee, Drs. Roger Azevedo and Nathan Hall.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Advanced Instructional Systems and Technologies LaboratoryUniversity of Utah Educational PsychologySalt Lake CityUSA

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