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An Introduction to TuTalk: Developing Dialogue Agents for Learning Studies. Pamela Jordan University of Pittsburgh Learning Research and Development Center. Dialogue in Learning Applications. Language practice Peer collaborations Short answer tutorial dialogue AutoTutor:

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an introduction to tutalk developing dialogue agents for learning studies
An Introduction to TuTalk: Developing Dialogue Agents for Learning Studies

Pamela Jordan

University of Pittsburgh

Learning Research and Development Center

dialogue in learning applications
Dialogue in Learning Applications
  • Language practice
  • Peer collaborations
  • Short answer tutorial dialogue
    • AutoTutor:
      • Computer literacy & qualitative physics
      • More effective than reading a textbook
    • Circsim-Tutor:
      • In use in medical school classrooms
      • More effective than problem solving alone
    • TuTalk:
      • Quantitative and qualitative physics, thermodynamics, program design, conceptual math
      • More effective than reading a textbook
      • In some situations as effective as a human tutor
what is tutalk
What is TuTalk?

Dialogue system construction tools for learning applications

  • Authoring tools for creating, testing and maintaining an artificial dialogue partner/agent
  • Dialogue agent server that:
    • Conducts dialogues with multiple students and are either
      • agent-led (system initiates all topics) or
      • mixed-initiative dialogues (student or system can initiate topics)
    • Provides communication protocol for connecting to application specific interface
    • Provides experiment management tools
finite state dialogue management

As a runner pushes a ball away, what horizontal forces act on it?

Good!

<subdialog>

<subdialog >

After the push ends, what forces….?

Finite state dialogue management

{gravitational, *}

<anything else>

{runner’s}

example dialogue

T: Let’s consider the forces acting on objects after they have been thrown. As a runner pushes a ball away, what horizontal forces are acting on it while she is pushing it?

S: Gravity?

T: In what direction does gravity act?

S: downward

T: Yes. So is a downward force a horizontal or vertical force?

S: It is vertical

T: Right. I asked for the horizontal forces instead and the only one is from the runner.

After the push ends, what horizontal forces are acting on the ball?

Example dialogue

Subdialogue

integrating tutalk
Integrating TuTalk
  • No interface building tools but several examples provided with server software just to show how to do it
  • Can integrate it into another tool or create your own interface (e.g. in CTAT for summer school 06: indicated a URL but now requires a special secure communication protocol)
  • Once integrated into another tool, others can use too
tutalk history
TuTalk History
  • Andes-Atlas: for tutoring quantitative physics problem solving (3 experiments)
  • Why2-Atlas: for tutoring qualitative physics problem solving (3 experiments)
  • ITSpoke: spoken language interface to Why2-Atlas (2 experiments)
  • Reflective Follow-up dialogues following quantitative physics problem solving (2 experiments)
  • CycleTalk: for tutoring thermodynamics design problems (1 experiment)
  • ProPL: for tutoring program design (1 experiment)
when are short answer dialogues appropriate inappropriate
When are short answer dialogues appropriate/inappropriate?
  • Appropriate for:
    • practicing some dialogue skills
    • conceptual discussions
    • scaffolding problem solving
    • identifying & addressing gaps in student understanding only as needed (hints, examples)
  • Not appropriate for:
    • assessing deep understanding
    • addressing grammar problems in language
    • content delivery – printed text is more efficient
    • student-only initiative (use CTAT for that)
what do you have to do to create a tutalk dialogue agent
What do you have to do to create a TuTalk dialogue agent?
  • Write domain content in form of natural language dialogue turns (e.g. elicit or tell)
  • Write expected student responses (short answer responses)
  • Write subdialogues for expected student responses that are:
    • Vague
    • Incorrect
    • Overly specific
example methodology
Example methodology
  • Write an ideal dialogue in English for a topic or knowledge component
  • Go back through it and think about possible alternative responses
  • For each alternative response that should react to differently write a subdialogue
authoring definitions tutoring perspective
Authoring definitions – tutoring perspective
  • A collection of dialogues that make up an experimental condition is called ascript/scenario
  • A dialogue covers a goal (aka topic)
  • One goal/topic can have alternative dialogues; an instance of a dialogue for a goal is called a template
  • A dialogue has one or more tutor turns called an initiation
  • An initiation can have an expected student response
  • An initiation & response, or initiation with no expected response is called a step
  • A set of alternative phrasings for an initiation or response is called a concept
example template for a dialogue covering a goal abstract
Example template for a dialogue covering a goal (abstract)

Goal name

Goal: select-appetizer

step:enthuse_about_appetizers

step:ask_share_appetizer

[agree_to_share_appetizer]

[skip_appetizerabort, ask-soup]

[unknownabort, loose-temper]

step:agree-on-appetizer

Concept to realize or recognize

initiation

possible responses

Response action: push to subdialogue for this goal

Push to subdialogue for this goal

past summer school tutalk projects
Past Summer School TuTalk projects
  • Language tutoring:
    • Coaching military trainees to follow one required communications protocol
    • Coaching student is proper use of two Chinese lexical items that depend on context
  • Conceptual tutoring:
    • Coaching elementary school students in qualitative reasoning skills
    • Coaching students on loop constructs in programming
    • Coaching students in the solution of monomials
tuesday tutalk offerings
Tuesday TuTalk Offerings
  • See http://andes3.lrdc.pitt.edu/TuTalk/corpora/
  • The Methodology and Basics of Authoring TuTalk Dialogue Agents (in Track room, not in lab)
    • Dialogue authoring methodologies  
    • Advice/findings on effective learning dialogues
    • Review and expand on basic features of TuTalk
  • Create a simple TuTalk Dialogue Agent in the project room
    • Do section 3.3 of TuTalk Authoring Interface User’s Guide (you can do sections 3.1 and 3.2 first if you prefer)
    • We’ll be there to answer questions and help you
  • Advanced TuTalk Dialogue Agents (in Track room)
    • Learn about the TuTalk server and its support tools
    • Explore additional authoring features (e.g. controlling automatic response feedback, looping, optional steps)
tutalk team
TuTalk Team
  • Authoring tools:
    • Carolyn Rosé
    • Yue Cui (Jenny)
    • Rohit Kumar
  • Dialogue server:
    • Pam Jordan
    • Brian Hall (Moses)
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