Opportunities from usability design for improving intelligent tutoring systems

Rehman Chughtai, Shasha Zhang, Scotty Craig

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS) are computer software systems that provide automated tutorial help such as feedback and guidance to learners. These systems are faced with three main challenges which are system development challenges, implementation of pedagogy, and usability hurdles. The implementation of tutoring within a computer based environment brings challenges such as software system requirements, platform independence, and flexibility of software programming language. Simulating a human tutor requires a complex process involving the application of an pedagogical strategy in the outer loop as well as accounting for inner loop factors such as methods of tutoring, understanding of the current state of the student being tutored (accurate student model), and understanding of basic affective measures of the student. Human-computer interaction (HCI) or usability of Intelligent Tutoring Systems, the primary focus of the current chapter, is an implicit challenge of all software development projects. One of the causes of a software failure is that the software cannot perform according to the user’s needs (e.g., improved learning) or the user is unable to use the system properly. This leads to low performance of the system or the user’s rejections of the software. So, HCI principles relating to user experience (UX) design and usability testing must be implemented within the ITS development process to improve performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationIntelligent Tutoring Systems
Subtitle of host publicationStructure, Applications and Challenges
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9781634852111
ISBN (Print)9781634851671
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016


  • Human-computer interaction (HCI)
  • Intelligent tutoring system (ITS)
  • Usability
  • User experience (UX)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)


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