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Problem Solving Support in Constraint-Based Tutors
Antonija Mitrovic, Stellan Ohlsson and Brent Martin

This paper discusses various ways problem-solving is supported in constraint-based tutors. We briefly discuss the underlying learning theory, and several constraint-based tutors developed at ICTG. We then discuss problem-solving support in these tutors. The interfaces play an important role, as they provide the student with domain-related information, describing the important domain concepts or providing means of obtaining additional information about problems. The interface also supports good practices in the domain, and visualizes the goal structure. Constraint-based tutors diagnose student’s solution, and provide feedback on the basis of this analysis. Feedback provides long and short-term learning advantages through revision of faulty knowledge in the context of learners’ errors. Our tutors provide progressive levels of feedback, with each new message specifying more detail about the error and the basic domain principle that was violated. Finally, we also engage the student in discussion about problem-solving actions, which support the learner to reflect on his/her actions and strengthen relationships between procedural and declarative knowledge.

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