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[Conference News] E-Learning Interface Expands Access to Open Student Model Visualizations

Researchers tested an e-learning system that integrates social learning theory to motivate a student’s progress in an introductory programming class. The Progressor system is based on an open student model — an AI tool for capturing and visualizing an individual’s knowledge, difficulties, and misconceptions about target content. Progressor differs from other open student models by visualizing not only the user’s own model but also the models of fellow students. Users can sort their peers’ models using criteria such as overall progress and progress on a specific topic.

In a paper accepted for publication at the IEEE Symposium on Visual Languages and Human-Centric Computing (VLHCC 11), to be held 18-22 September, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, collaborating researchers from Friedrich Schiller University of Jena and the University of Pittsburgh present results from a classroom study showing that giving a student access to classmates’ student models increased the student’s motivation to compete and progress in an e-learning system.

“We found that students working with Progressor accessed the course quizzes 70.68 percent more often than the ones working with a traditional course portal,” said Sharon Hsiao, coauthor of the paper with Fedor Bakalov, Peter Brusilovsky, and Birgitta König-Ries. “Furthermore, the number of correct answers increased by 75.11 percent.”

The paper will be available to IEEE Computer Society Digital Library subscribers at after the conference. Learn more about papers to be presented at VLHCC 2011 at

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