Beyond rules: development and evaluation of knowledge acquisition systems for educational knowledge-based modelling
Conlon, Thomas Hugh
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The technology of knowledge-based systems undoubtedly offers potential for educational modelling, yet its practical impact on today's school classrooms is very limited. To an extent this is because the tools presently used in schools are EMYCIN -type expert system shells. The main argument of this thesis is that these shells make knowledge-based modelling unnecessarily difficult and that tools which exploit knowledge acquisition technologies empower learners to build better models. We describe how such tools can be designed. To evaluate their usability a model-building course was conducted in five secondary schools. During the course pupils built hundreds of models in a common range of domains. Some of the models were built with an EMYCIN -type shell whilst others were built with a variety of knowledge acquisition systems. The knowledge acquisition systems emerged as superior in important respects. We offer some explanations for these results and argue that although problems remain, such as in teacher education, design of classroom practice, and assessment of learning outcomes, it is clear that knowledge acquisition systems offer considerable potential to develop improved forms of educational knowledge-based modelling.
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