Virtual classroom simulation using agent technology
ABSTRACT A recent approach in developing distant learning environments advocates the ideology of facilitating the social context of learning. Collaboration is an important essence of quality learning. The benefits reaped by engaging in a meaningful dialog with a peer is often greater than learning in isolation and also have the potential to impact positively on the learner's cognitive ability. Development in the area of agent technology have enabled embedding intelligent agents as co-learning counterparts or tutors, with a potential of increasing learner interactivity in a motivational learning environment. This project explores the benefits of incorporating co-learning peers to initiate a meaningful dialog between the learner and the co-learner agents, and also the positives of introducing a tutor agent who monitors the progression of the learner and provide feedback. The system is designed in a way that enables the intelligent agents to exist as independent components and the learner can obtain hints by calling on them. The Jade framework is used as the middleware to implement the agents. Furthermore, a tutor agent is present who evaluates the learner's progression and provide feedback. An expert system shell is used to improve the accuracy of the feedback provided. This distant learning environment is aimed at developing a higher mental process by facilitating the social context of learning.