Using an Intelligent Tutoring System to Support Collaborative as well as Individual Learning

Jennifer K. Olsen, Daniel M. Belenky, Vincent Aleven, Nikol Rummel

Collaborative learning has been shown to be beneficial for older students, but there has not been much research to show if these results transfer to elementary school students. In addition, collaborative and individual modes of instruction may be better for acquiring different types of knowledge. Collaborative Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS) provide a platform that may be able to provide both the cognitive and collaborative support that students need. This paper presents a study comparing collaborative and individual methods while receiving instruction on either procedural or conceptual knowledge. The collaborative groups had the same learning gains as the individual groups in both the procedural and conceptual learning conditions but were able to do so with fewer problems. This work indicates that by embedding collaboration scripts in ITSs, collaborative learning can be an effective instructional method even with young children.

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