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A Multimedia Knowledge Module
Virtual Tutor fosters Interactive Learning

Institute for Information processing and Computer supported new Media (IICM),
Graz University of Technology, Austria, (cguetl@iicm.edu)
Infodelio Information Discovery, Gütl IT Research & Constuling, Internet Studio-Isser,
Co-Initiator of the xFIND Project, and Member of the ACM and IEEE, (cguetl@acm.org)
A-8010 Graz, Inffeldgasse 16c, Fax: +43 316 873 5699, Phone +43 316 873 5639

Information Design,
University of Applied Sciences (FH JOANNEUM), (maja.pivec@fh-joanneum.at)
Consultant for E-Learning, Member of the ACM, IEEE and AI-ED
A-8020 Graz, Alte Poststrasse 152, Fax: +43 316 5453 8601, Phone +43 316 5453 8623

The reported research wants to merge qualities of an expert system with advantages of multimedia, thus creating a variety of innovative ways of knowledge mediation. An expert system as a multimedia knowledge module was developed. Because of the interactivity and explanation features the application was named Virtual Tutor (VT).
For students, the individual dialogue based session with the VT provides the possibility to apply the knowledge acquired in combination with indirect assessment. The VT was further embedded in the Web-based on-line learning environment. The application of expert systems makes it possible to use different knowledge representation and explanation approaches. Independent from the course content, the Web-based on-line learning environment gives support to the students in various ways, like tools for asynchronous and synchronous communication and collaboration, a search facility within a background library, etc.
Evaluation of the VT was carried out. Based on the evaluation results the conclusion can be drawn that a dialog-based system more accurately meets the requirements of the students for solving problems. Problem solutions can be found easier and faster than using conventional literature. Because of explanations provided by the VT on request, and the possibility to access additional information related to the subject matter, VT is an interesting and different way of knowledge transfer.

see also: http://dl.aace.org/13500