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2006Research Conference | June 15–16

This conference highlighted the work of invited speakers, independent researchers who have received grant funds from the Institute of Education Sciences, and trainees supported through predoctoral training grants and postdoctoral fellowships. The presentations are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Department of Education or the Institute of Education Sciences.
Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill
400 New Jersey Avenue, N.W.
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Dynamically Modifying the Learning Trajectories of Novices with Pedagogical Agents

Carole R. Beal, University of Southern California
Ronald Stevens, University of California-Los Angeles

Abstract: The goal of this project is to model student learning trajectories as they solve scientific problems in the context of an on-line, multimedia system, IMMEX developed by co-P.I. Ron Stevens (UCLA) and to deploy interventions to support the transition from ineffective to strategic problem solving. IMMEX exercises present the student with authentic scenarios, e.g., an unidentified chemical has spilled after an earthquake, and the student must order specific tests in an effort to identify what the substance is and to learn if it is potentially hazardous. Student's actions within the IMMEX system indicate that many students adopt ineffective strategies, and that strategy is related to student gender. To increase our ability to predict strategic behavior, we have integrated an on-line assessment of student motivation into the IMMEX system. Approximately 900 students have now completed both the motivation assessment and a set of IMMEX cases, and data are being used to train the student model network. We have also developed a pedagogical model to guide the deployment of interventions to support strategic efficiency in relation to student motivation and gender. Initial tests of the model focus on interventions delivered via text messages, with transition to delivery via animated agents beginning in Year 2.