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Building Computer-based Tutors to Help Learners Solve Ill-Structured Problems PROCEEDINGS

, , Seneca College, Canada

EdMedia + Innovate Learning, in Toronto, Canada ISBN 978-1-880094-81-5 Publisher: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE), Waynesville, NC


This paper reports the results of a study on the effectiveness of three distinct instructional strategies, embedded in a computer-based tutor, in order to help learners solve ill-structured problems. The study differentiated learners on three levels with respect to their proficiency in solving visual pattern-recognition problems, such as Bongard problems. For the purpose of the study, a computer-based tutor system was designed and built to operate with three strategies: (i) example only, (ii) example-problem, and (iii) problem only. This formative research demonstrated that the basic assumptions of the Cognitive Load Theory (CLT) are equally applicable to ill-structured domains. The paper shows that the worked-example effect and the expertise-reversal effect are obtainable in an ill-structured domain. For intermediate learners, worked-examples and tutored problems are not redundant tools, but rather, synergistic forms of support that can increase these learners' abilities to solve ill-structured problems.


Anastasiade, J. & Szalwinski, C. (2010). Building Computer-based Tutors to Help Learners Solve Ill-Structured Problems. In J. Herrington & C. Montgomerie (Eds.), Proceedings of ED-MEDIA 2010--World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia & Telecommunications (pp. 3726-3731). Toronto, Canada: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved October 19, 2018 from .

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