Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITSs)

xPST - Extensible Problem-Specific Tutor

xPST - This open source intelligent tutoring system has been developed with NSF SBIR funding that is intended to enable teachers and faculty (or anyone) to create intelligent tutors on exinting software websites or for software for which you have the source code. More detail coming soon. Google Code site:

What's an ITS?

An ITS is a artificial-intelligence based method of learning that's much better than traditional e-learning or simulations. Learn more in this 3-minute presentation.


Why would I need an ITS?

If you spend too much time and money training customers or support technicians how to use a complicated software system, an ITS would help.

ITSs have been shown to be much more effective than traditional training (see references below):

  • 30% faster than traditional training for the same level of mastery
  • 30% better learning in the same time


Why haven't I heard of an ITS before?

ITSs have historically been expensive to build and maintain, but they have used very successfully in military flight simulators and more recently in teaching math. Clearsighted's technology makes the development of an ITS much easier.


What's the pedagogical theory behind an ITS?

ITSs fall in the "problem-based learning" or "learning by doing" category. The ITS gives you a series of tasks to accomplish using the tool that you're trying to learn. As you work, the ITS tracks your learning and gives you personalized guidance when you make mistakes. Gradually, the tutor fades into the background as you master the material. Some might also call this "cognitive apprenticeship."



  • Corbett, A. T. & Anderson, J. R. (1990). The effect of feedback control on learning to program with the Lisp Tutor. In Proceedings of the Twelfth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, 796-803, Cambridge, MA.
  • Corbett, A. T. & Anderson, J. R. (1992). The LISP intelligent tutoring system: Research in skill acquisition. In J. Larkin, R. Chabay, C. Scheftic (Eds.), Computer Assisted Instruction and Intelligent Tutoring Systems: Establishing Communication and Collaboration. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Koedinger, K. R., Anderson, J. R.., Hadley, W. H.., & Mark, M. A. (1997). Intelligent tutoring goes to school in the big city. International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education, 8, 30-43.
  • Murray, T (1999). Authoring intelligent tutoring systems: An analysis of the state of the art. International Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education, 10, p98-129.
  • Murray, T., Blessing, S., Ainsworth, S. (Eds.) (2003). Authoring tools for advanced technology educational software. Kluwer Academic Publishers.

This work is supported in part by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. DMI-0441679. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this work are those of Clearsighted and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.