SBIR Phase II: Developing a Cost-Effective Method for Creating Cognitive Models for Cognitive Tutors

Award Information
Agency: National Science Foundation
Branch: N/A
Contract: 0548754
Agency Tracking Number: 0441679
Amount: $499,999.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2006
Solicitation Year: 2004
Solicitation Topic Code: IT
Solicitation Number: NSF 04-551
Small Business Information
2325 Van Buren Avenue, Ames, IA, 50010
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Stephen Gilbert
 (515) 296-7800
Business Contact
 Stephen Gilbert
Title: Dr
Phone: (515) 233-5137
Research Institution
This Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase II project will make the creation of effective intelligent tutoring systems (ITSs) easier, and it will enable the dissemination of that technology to a broader audience than currently realized. ITSs have proven to be highly effective in delivering computer-based instruction, but they have historically been expensive and difficult to build, requiring specialized skill in artificial intelligence and production systems programming. Building upon Clearsighted's Phase I accomplishments, the firm will: (1) finish a fully-functional software development kit (SDK) that will allow non-cognitive scientists to create the cognitive model that powers an ITS; (2) develop technology that will enable an ITS to communicate to the vast majority of third-party software; (3) develop techniques that will allow an ITS to work with an institution's existing on-line learning system; and (4) evaluate the research team's work with respect to both time-savings in building ITSs and customers' return on investment. Two main results are anticipated: (1) a two- to three-fold decrease in the amount of time it takes to author an ITS; and (2) an estimated savings to customers of 30% per hour of the cost of traditional training time. The success of ITSs is well documented (e.g., Koedinger, Anderson, Hadley, & Mark, 1997; Corbett, 2001; Morgan & Ritter, 2002). However, ITSs have not been broadly deployed, due to the high level of expertise needed and the cost to create. Furthermore, lack of viable options to interface the cognitive model of an ITS with already existing software impairs wider dissemination of that technology. By increasing technological understanding of how to reduce the amount of the expertise needed to create an ITS and how to accomplish interfacing ITSs with existing software, the result of this supported work will be a wider distribution of ITSs. Clearsighted is well poised to become a market leader in on-line technical training by leveraging this technology. Clearsighted has partnered with Carnegie Learning, the ITS leader in K-12 education to assist in these goals, and it has the additional expertise needed to perform the required work. By transitioning ITS technology from its currently very small market to a wider audience that includes not only education, but also corporate and industrial applications, the costs to the many companies and institutions that do on-line training will greatly decrease, and the productivity of their workers will increase.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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