Developing a Computational Representation for Problem Solving Skills

Unknown author (1978-10-01)

This paper describes the evolution of a problem solving model over several generations of computer coaches. Computer coaching is a type of computer assisted instruction in which the coaching program observes the performance of a student engaged in some intellectual game. The coach's function is to intervene occasionally in student generated situations to discuss appropriate skills that might improve the student's play. Coaching is a natural context in which to investigate the teaching and learning processes, but it is a demanding task. The computer must be able to analyze the student's performance in terms of a model of the underlying problem solving skills. This model must represent not only expertise for the task but also intermediate stages of problem solving skill and typical difficulties encountered by the learner. Implementing several generations of computer coaches to meet these demands has resulted in a model that represents problem solving skills a san evolving set of rules for a domain acting on an evolving representation of the problem and executed by a resource-limited problem solver. This paper describes this evolution from its starting point as a simple rule-based approach to its current form.