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Automatically Generating Effective Online Help

, , , CSIRO, Australia ; , Calvin College, United States

International Journal on E-Learning, in Norfolk, VA ISSN 1537-2456 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC USA


Instructional text, and in particular procedural text, is a genre that users rely upon heavily when they are learning new procedures, devices or systems. It is, however, also well-known to be a genre that is difficult to produce and maintain. This paper discusses Isolde, an environment that attempts to address this problem by supporting the semi-automated production of procedural instructions, in particular on-line help. This environment exploits technologies for producing documents automatically and includes an extensible set of interactive tools for acquiring, representing, and maintaining the knowledge that is required for producing the instructions. In addition, this paper presents the results of an evaluation that compares the effectiveness of the instructions produced by Isolde with those produced by human authors. The results suggest that the instructions produced by Isolde are of comparable quality to similar texts found in commercial manuals.


Paris, C., Colineau, N., Lu, S. & Vander Linden, K. (2005). Automatically Generating Effective Online Help. International Journal on E-Learning, 4(1), 83-103. Norfolk, VA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved March 26, 2023 from .



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