iSTART 2: Improvements for efficiency and effectiveness

Irwin B. Levinstein, Chutima Boonthum, Srinivasa P. Pillarisetti, Courtney Bell, Danielle S. Mcnamara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)224-232
Number of pages9
JournalBehavior Research Methods
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2007
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)


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