Looking ahead to select tutorial actions: A decision-theoretic approach

R. Charles Murray, Kurt VanLehn, Jack Mostow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations


We propose and evaluate a decision-theoretic approach for selecting tutorial actions by looking ahead to anticipate their effects on the student and other aspects of the tutorial state. The approach uses a dynamic decision network to consider the tutor’s uncertain beliefs and objectives in adapting to and managing the changing tutorial state. Prototype action selection engines for diverse domains - calculus and elementary reading - illustrate the approach. These applications employ a rich model of the tutorial state, including attributes such as the student’s knowledge, focus of attention, affective state, and next action(s), along with task progress and the discourse state. For this study, neither of our action selection engines had been integrated into a complete ITS, so we used simulated students to evaluate their capabilities to select rational tutorial actions that emulate the behaviors of human tutors. We also evaluated their capability to select tutorial actions quickly enough for real-world tutoring applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-278
Number of pages44
JournalInternational Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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