|Knowledge based system
tools are well within the skill set of any instructional technologist.
What is lacking is awareness by the instructional technology community
of knowledge based system technology, and how to apply it easily.
As the clamor and glamour of multi-media Internet
enabled tutorial and testing systems becomes standard fare, the need
for systems that are simpler, more efficient, and more responsive
to individuals - adaptive - are being recognized, particularly by
the defense community.
Consider a sailor in training using an assessment driven
adaptive distance learning system. A learning management system takes
this sailor through the training, maintaining a record of the student's
progress. This same system can later assist that sailor in solving
a problem while at sea using just-in-time instruction. In this scenario,
the Learning Management System references the training record enabling
efficient delivery of the precise information that must be learned.
The reusability of the same knowledge bases for both basic training
and field instruction is an enormous cost savings, completely in the
spirit of SCORM compliance, and it assures that the training materials
reflect the realities of shipboard operations.
It is interesting to compare knowledge based systems
with the Internet's keyword search mechanisms or with the completely
undisciplined branching that comes from hyper-linking. Hypertext,
invented by Vannevar Bush in the 1940s (before there were any computers),
was originally grounded in the very disciplined science of semantic
networks. Now, however, hypertext (Internet hyperlinks) evolves without
regard for structure or design. When comparing knowledge-based systems
with the standard keyword / hierarchical / alphabetical indexing systems
currently in most help systems, only the knowledge based systems captures
and delivers the knowledge of how the various system elements are
related. Currently a lot of research is being done to develop Internet
browsing systems that are based on knowledge based system technology.
It is clear that knowledge based system technology, such
as Attar Software's Knowledge Builder and Configurator, are ideal
tools for the instructional technologist seeking methods for making
adaptive assessment driven tutorial systems with just-in-time training.
Instructional technologists need only to be aware of these tools,
and have them available, for the next generation of adaptive systems
For the instructional technologist, knowledge based
technology can create:
* Assessment driven adaptive testing and tutorial
systems for training.
* Just-in-time training that precisely presents the materials
from the tutorial system.
* Analysis of test records that identifies patterns and profiles
* Automated systems that learn from continuous record keeping.
* Advisement systems that configure courses of training to fit
individual backgrounds and individual goals.
Imagination is the only limit. I encourage all instructional
technologists, and those who manage and lead instructional design
projects, to familiarize themselves with today's knowledge based system
technologies, and to let imagination soar into tomorrow's intelligent
1. Microsoft® Encarta® Reference Library 2003. © 1993-2002
Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
2. Shareable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM) is an XML-based
framework that defines and accesses information on learning objects
to easily shared among different Learning Management Systems (LMSs).
SCORM was developed in response to a United States Department of
Defense (DoD) initiative to promote standardization in e-learning.
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4. Data mining is the analyzing data to identify patterns and establish
relationships. Data mining parameters include:
Association - looking for patterns where one event is connected
to another event
Sequence or path analysis - looking for patterns where one event
leads to a later event
Classification - looking for new patterns (May result in a change
in the way the data is organized but that's ok)
Clustering - finding and visually docu-menting groups of facts not
Forecasting - discovering patterns in data that can lead to reasonable
predictions about the future
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Professor Brosch is experienced in conceiving and
developing knowledge based adaptive training systems. He is a Senior
Associate of IntelliCrafters (www.IntelliCrafters.com), a provider
of knowledge based software products and consultancy, and who represents
and distributes Attar Software products in the Americas.