Instructional dimensions root

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Instructional dimensions being explored by PSLC projects

[This has not been vetted by Ken, Chuck or the EC. Consider it personal opinion. -- Kurt]

Existing PSLC experiments vary values along many instructional dimensions, so to simplify the exposition, the dimensions are grouped into 5 major classes and a 6th miscellaneous class. Each class of dimensions is listed below, with its dimensions beneath it. For each dimension, PSLC studies that compare values along that dimension are listed with it.

Peer collaboration

Problem solving, example studying and many other activities can be done alone, in pairs, or in pairs with various kinds of assistance, such as collaboration scripts. From the standpoint of an individual learner, having a partner offers more assistance than working alone, and having a partner plus other scaffolding offer even more assistance.


In many kinds of instruction, similar or even identical tasks occur in sequence, with other tasks intervening. The more similar the tasks and the closer they are together, the easier they are for the student to achieve successfully during training, so the higher that scheduling/repetition is in the assistance ordering.


Both the presentations and the responses from learners can be written, spoken, diagramatic, gestural (e.g., menus), etc. Two modalities of presentation may in general be more assistive than one. However, the assistance scale for this design issue needs exploration.


Should the instruction present knowledge explicitly (typically as text) or let the student infer it from multiple instances? Some of these dimensions do not (yet?) have a clear assistance ordering for their values.

Does the tutor or the student do it?

(This dimension needs a better name) Should the tutor or the student do the steps in solving a problem? Should the tutor or the student explain the steps of a problem’s solution? In general, assistance is higher when the tutor does it than when the student does it.


These instructional dimensions fall outside the categories listed above.