A Framework for Model-Based Adaptive Training

Life Cycle Considerations

Although the MOBAT framework is not a software life-cycle methodology, a discussion here is appropriate as part of any software development technique is to consider for how the product may evolve during its lifetime. A well known project life-cycle method for KBS is the approach used in KADS [Tansley & Hayball 1993].

The approach in CommonKADS is based on a spiral life-cycle method. If KBS’s are to form part of a much larger system, the integration with a standard structured approach is essential. The general approach in industry is to update an existing structured software engineering methodology with specific guidelines to accommodate special technology or special application requirements. One of the major benefits of structured techniques is that system developments are business, rather than technology, driven.

An integrated framework of tools and methodologies within the area of authoring and learning, exploiting distributed computer environments, has been created by the Nestor project [Schaper 1993]. Nestor’s focus is to provide support for multimedia courseware and collaboration between authors, tutors and learners.

Support is provided with an extensive set of tools during the complete Define-Design-Develop-Deliver life cycle. During the define phase, support is provided for performing an instructional analysis, defining instructional goals, instructional objectives, learner characteristics and an instructional strategy. These tasks are supported as teamwork among groups of authors with a generic environment for cooperative work.

An instructional design editor is used to create an instructional analysis structure. Instructional analysis entries contain facts, principles, learner objectives and annotations about course content sources, tests or tasks for the learner.

Tasks in the design phase are domain structuring and scripting of the course that is to be implemented. A tool helps during interactive domain knowledge structuring and another tool supports the scripting of instructional strategies. The instructional analysis entries are transformed into a course structure (consisting of a flow graph of course nodes) based on the target audience and the selected instructional strategy.

The development phase comprises the creation of instructional transactions as well as the retrieval, creation and editing of multimedia objects. A synchronisation editor supports the specification of synchronised presentation and layout of multimedia objects. During the delivery phase, courses can be selected and run, and the media space can freely be explored by the learner. A course runtime system provides functionality to run cooperative courses.

Much can be learned from the integrated Nestor approach for the MOBAT framework. However, Nestor is focused on collaboration in hypermedia environments and is not considering adaptive training using a model-based approach.

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