The Andes physics tutoring system: An experiment in freedom

Kurt VanLehn, Brett Van De Sande, Robert Shelby, Sophia Gershman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

16 Scopus citations


The Andes physics tutoring system is an experiment in student freedom. It allows students to solve a physics problem in virtually any legal way. This means that Andes must recognize an extremely large number of possible steps occurring in an extraordinarily large number of possible orders. Such freedom raises several research questions. (1) How can Andes solve the technical challenge of understanding student's behavior in such a wide-open context? (2) How can Andes give pedagogically useful help and guidance? In particular, how can it guide students who are floundering without curtailing the freedom of students who are not floundering? (3) Will Andes be effective in getting students in real classrooms to learn physics? (4) What does it take to scale up Andes and disseminate it widely? The Andes project, which began in the mid 1990's, has achieved workable solutions to the first three goals: Andes can understand student behavior; It provides pedagogical help similar to that of human experts; Most importantly, Andes causes large, reliable learning gains compared to control classes taught with convention, paper-based instruction. This chapter summarizes the first three results and discusses our progress on the fourth goal, scale-up.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAdvances in Intelligent Tutoring Systems
EditorsRoger Nkambou, Jacqueline Bourdeau, Riichirio Mizoguchi
Number of pages23
StatePublished - Oct 6 2010

Publication series

NameStudies in Computational Intelligence
ISSN (Print)1860-949X

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Artificial Intelligence


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