A cognitive tutor is a kind of intelligent tutoring system that allows students to enter multiple steps leading up to the solution of a problem, provides immediate feedback after each step, and upon student request, provides context-sensitive instruction or hints toward reasonable next steps.
Cognitive tutors contain a cognitive model of student thinking (a model of the required knowledge components and use algorithms called model tracing and knowledge tracing to provide tutoring that is personalized for each learner. Knowledge tracing is a method for providing optimized scheduling.
For early work, see
- Anderson, J. R., Corbett, A. T., Koedinger, K. R., & Pelletier, R. (1995). Cognitive Tutors: Lessons Learned. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 4(2), 167-207.
- 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(1), 30-43.
The math cognitive tutors and surrounding course text and teacher support materials were licensed to Carnegie Learning, which has been responsible for sales, marketing, and further development and improvement. Their web site has reports from many successful evaluations. The Algebra and Geometry LearnLab courses are the result of a partnership between PSLC, Carnegie Learning and several school districts.
Tools for authoring cognitive tutors can be found at Cognitive Tutor Authoring Tools web site.