A Comparative Literature Review of Intelligent Tutoring Systems from 1992-2015

Brice Robert Colby, Brigham Young University


This paper sought to accomplish three goals. First, it provided a systematic, comparative review of several intelligent tutoring systems (ITS). Second, it summarized problems and solutions presented and solved by developers of ITS by consolidating the knowledge of the field into a single review. Third, it provided a unified language from which ITS can be reviewed and understood in the same context. The findings of this review centered on the 5-Component Framework. The first component, the domain model, showed that most ITS are focused on science, technology, and mathematics. Within these fields, ITS generally have mastery learning as the desired level of understanding. The second component, the tutor model, showed that constructivism is the theoretical strategy that informs most ITS. The tutoring tactics employed in the ITS stem from this paradigm. The third component, the student model, describes the several ways ITS infer what a student knows. It described the variety of data that is collected by an ITS and how it is used to build the student model. The fourth component, the interface, revealed that most ITS are now web-based, but vary in their capacity to interact with students. It also showed that user experience is underreported and ought to be included more in the research. Finally, the fifth component, learning gains, demonstrated that ITS are capable of producing learning gains equivalent to a human tutor. However, reporting learning gains does not seem to be a focus of the literature.