A constructionist approach to student modeling: tracing a student’s constructions through an agent-based tutoring architecture

Onderzoeksoutput: Conference paper

Samenvatting

Construction Grammar is a well-established linguistic theory that takes the notion of a construction as the basic unit
of language. A construction is a symbolic unit that builds up relational form-meaning mappings through a range of
language-dependent categorizations. Although the Construction Grammar framework has developed a powerful
descriptive and processing model of language, its current practitioners use it mainly to describe specific constructions
in a language (from a synchronic or a diachronic perspective) or to theorize about its basic principles. Yet, the
potential of Construction Grammar for language teaching or SLA has largely remained ignored, except for a few rare
investigations that have confirmed the potential of learning and teaching constructions. Therefore, this paper
demonstrates the benefits of adopting the Construction Grammar approach for modelling a student's linguistic
knowledge and skills in a language tutoring application.
The two major computational implementations of Construction Grammar, Embodied Construction
Grammar (ECG) and Fluid Construction Grammar (FCG), have already experimented with simulations of
constructional acquisition in first language learning. However, in this paper we propose a tutoring architecture for
(adult) second language learning that relies on a student model that consists of the constructions that the student is
thought (by the tutor) to have acquired. This student model is embodied in a fully operational student agent, which
has a construction inventory, a grammar engine (to process constructions) and learning strategies (to update
constructions after learning). The tutoring architecture also contains a tutor agent, which models a competent
language user and has the same three components as the student agent. Additionally, the tutor agent has direct access
to the student agent's states and can dispose of a range of tutoring strategies. Through linguistic interactions between
the real student and the tutor agent, the student agent models the behaviour of the real student and tries to predict his
input. The student construction inventory is aligned to the real student's input after every interaction. This innovative
architecture, implemented in Fluid Construction Grammar, is demonstrated here for the use case of Spanish past tense
expressions, which remains a complex task even for the most advanced learners of Spanish. Through the use of
carefully designed diagnostics and repairs we show that the student construction inventory can be updated to
maximally approach the real student's linguistic knowledge of the target domain.
Originele taal-2English
TitelEUROCALL Conference proceedings: Learning from the Past, Looking to the Future.
RedacteurenLinda Bradley, Sylvie Thouësny
Pagina's45-50
ISBN van elektronische versie978-1-908416-15-5, 978-1-908416-14-8 , 978-1-908416-13-1
DOI's
StatusPublished - dec 2013
Evenement20 years of EUROCALL: Learning from the Past, Looking to the Future - Evora, Portugal
Duur: 11 nov 201314 nov 2013

Conference

Conference20 years of EUROCALL: Learning from the Past, Looking to the Future
Land/RegioPortugal
StadEvora
Periode11/11/1314/11/13

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