Identifying Effective Moves in Tutoring: On the Refinement of Dialogue Act Annotation Schemes

Alexandria Katarina Vail, Kristy Elizabeth Boyer

The rich natural language dialogue that is exchanged between tutors and students has inspired many successful lines of research on tutorial dialogue systems. Yet, today’s tutorial dialogue systems do not regularly achieve the same level of student learning gain as has been observed with expert human tutors. Implementing models directly informed by, and even machine-learned from, human-human tutorial dialogue is highly promising. With this goal in mind, this paper makes two contributions to tutorial dialogue systems research. First, it presents a dialogue act annotation scheme that is designed specifically to address a common weakness within dialogue act tag sets, namely, their dominance by a single large majority dialogue act class. Second, using this new fine-grained annotation scheme, the paper describes important correlations uncovered between tutor dialogue acts and student learning gain within a corpus of tutorial dialogue for introductory computer science. These findings can inform the design of future tutorial dialogue systems by suggesting ways in which systems can adapt at a fine-grained level to student actions.

The final publication is available at Springer via https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-07221-0_24.