ULOE11 Essay Topic Notes

  1. I had been trying to define a ULOE11 essay topic related to my interests in mixed initiative interaction as a mode of learning. My initial foray into this area indicates a vast literature which would only allow a superficial pass for the essay. I am not keen on superficiality and know it would not motivate me enough feeling I was skimming.
  2. I am also interested in scenario or “story-based” learning and would like to study and read into this more. Again a big literature.. but we have some useful initial readings on the course. maybe the game based learning course next semester will help me warm up my knowledge of this.
  3. I am interested in classroom assistance in a distributed setting using a mixture of intelligent agent technology, and intelligent mixed-initiative tutoring process knowledge.
  4. I could look at AI uses in Education… with a survey of early AI ideas who may now be seeing their time come.
  5. I also observed that we have used discussion of AI, artificial agents and knowledge-based systems many times in ULOE11 discussions to draw out points about learners and teaching methods, and about the nature of knowledge, teaching and learning. There are many fascinating insights being discussed some of which I have been able to contribute to.

I think I have two threads either of which might make a suitable focus for the main MSc dissertation, and both of which to some extent might be linked. Topics 1), 2) and 3) are related to them but seem too expansive and require too much reading at this stage to be practical for te ULOE11 essay.

a) Mixed-initiative interaction, and scenario-driven stories as a basis for learning.

b) An AI-based Classroom Assistant – what it could do in a distributed education setting, what it can do to assist the tutor and students and their interactions. What is practical now and what is being considered.

So for the ULOE11 essay I think I need to choose a topic that is different to these themes.. or that is a clear separate piece of lead in work for them. This is a possible topic:

The Use of AI Concepts in Understanding Learning


One whole area of AI has been devoted to cognitive modelling and seeking to provide computation mechanism which mimic or show some aspect of human intelligence. The nature of data, information, knowledge and intelligence continues to exercise philosophers, psychologists, technologists and educators in their writings and debates. Postulating an AI entity as a non-human learner can be helpful in disambiguating the issues, getting to core themes, and allowing for non-anthropomorphic argumentation. We have seen many examples of this in the discussion forum for the ULOE course. We will explore readings concerned with the core approaches to understanding learning and relate them to how AI systems are constructed to see if descriptions of AI systems are helpful in gaining understanding in this field. Various discussion forum postings in which the author has engaged will be used as a basis for the work.

Then a day later I had second thoughts… I just did not seem to feel comfortable about the suggestion for the essay. I was worried that it could end up a rambling set of different notes and points. So I decided to makes some notes on what I would cover as I was uneasy that the topic I suggested did not have a clear theme. I think all I have done in suggesting that is potentially OPEN up the amount of further reading that would have to be done to make a decent essay. And I could not identify a good set of bullets that I might focus on and address. I like a coherent target or theme to work effectively.

So… let me try again… I went back over what I think would work well.. which is to read into the educational cognitive psychology behind some of the learning approaches I am interested in and actually use in my work… like the mixed initiative and scenario-based training that I have mentioned several times. This could be an area to suggest for my MSc dissertation but I was worried that my initial reading in mixed initiative educational approaches indicated a vast literature which would be out of reach for the ULOE essay. I have started such reading and note taking.. although it lacks focus just now.

But I think I see a glimmer of light as a suggestion for the ULOE essay topic having thought more… the overlap between mixed-initiative and story or scenario based approaches is an interesting angle… and we have a few readings and observations on the ULOE11 discussion forum about the power of stories in education.

Understanding Learning in Scenario-Based Training

The “power of stories” is a compelling theme in education and many of us have recollections of the things we have learned in the context of a story or real world grounding of some experience. It is used in training through play out of scenarios in ways which are intended to draw out educational outcomes for the learner. This essay will explore the roots of educational cognitive psychology that seeks to explain the powerful effect which story telling has in educational contexts.

Keywords: Stories, Grounding, Embodiment

A Think Lab web site quote..
A story captures the essence of who you are and what you do. The human brain organizes information using narrative structure

This entry was posted in IDEL11. Bookmark the permalink.