BAND AID: First steps toward an ICAI system

Research paper by Richard B. Millward

Indexed on: 01 Mar '80Published on: 01 Mar '80Published in: Behavior Research Methods


BANDAID is an intelligent computer-assisted instruction (ICAI) system designed for students learning to program in BASIC. The major thesis is that beginning students need a friendly environment, that is, one in which information about the language and the system are immediately available. The system accepts most commands without switching levels: BASIC lines are parsed on input with very specific error messages. An editor allows corrections of BASIC lines. The program can be traced while running, and an indefinite number of HELP comments can be written for the system. Without leaving the BASIC environment, the user can interact with the CMS monitor of the main machine running the program. Although no English language comments or questions are allowed, the system is modular so that additions of restrictive dialogue interaction and guided tutoring are possible. Illustrations are presented showing the capabilities of the system. The paper also presents some of the implementation details of BANDAID. A flexible system requires implementation in LISP, so examples of how the system programmer interacts with LISP during debugging are given. Although still incomplete, the system runs satisfactorily and can be used easily by beginning students and by psychologists interested in how people learn complex subjects.