Automated Data-Driven Generation of Personalized Pedagogical Interventions in Intelligent Tutoring Systems

Ekaterina Kochmar, Dung Do Vu, Robert Belfer, Varun Gupta, Iulian Vlad Serban, Joelle Pineau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (SciVal)
6 Downloads (Pure)


Intelligent tutoring systems (ITS) have been shown to be highly effective at promoting learning as compared to other computer-based instructional approaches. However, many ITS rely heavily on expert design and hand-crafted rules. This makes them difficult to build and transfer across domains and limits their potential efficacy. In this paper, we investigate how feedback in a large-scale ITS can be automatically generated in a data-driven way, and more specifically how personalization of feedback can lead to improvements in student performance outcomes. First, in this paper we propose a machine learning approach to generate personalized feedback in an automated way, which takes individual needs of students into account, while alleviating the need of expert intervention and design of hand-crafted rules. We leverage state-of-the-art machine learning and natural language processing techniques to provide students with personalized feedback using hints and Wikipedia-based explanations. Second, we demonstrate that personalized feedback leads to improved success rates at solving exercises in practice: our personalized feedback model is used in Korbit, a large-scale dialogue-based ITS with around 20,000 students launched in 2019. We present the results of experiments with students and show that the automated, data-driven, personalized feedback leads to a significant overall improvement of 22.95% in student performance outcomes and substantial improvements in the subjective evaluation of the feedback.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-349
Number of pages27
JournalInternational Journal of Artificial Intelligence in Education
Issue number2
Early online date27 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2022


  • Data science education
  • Deep learning
  • Dialogue-based tutoring systems
  • Intelligent tutoring systems
  • Natural language processing
  • Personalized feedback
  • Personalized learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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