The patent's assignee for patent application serial number 367264 is
News editors obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "The present invention relates to the field of education and in particular, to apparatus, systems, and methods for facilitating knowledge dissemination and promoting knowledge acquisition, in part, by automatically presenting elements of an interlinked knowledge base in a way that optimizes learning efficiency.
"Knowledge may be viewed as a collection of concepts, models, facts and tools pertaining to subject matter, which are interlinked and rich with dependencies. Good educators know it is not enough to teach a subject as a collection of unrelated facts--instead, presenting ideas in a manner which makes students aware of the connections between ideas facilitates a transition from memorization and superficial understanding of the subject to true learning.
"Effective instruction involves a presentation of concepts selected, sequenced, and timed so as to be congruent with a student's learning state, which may be seen as a function of the student's interests, abilities, and prior knowledge. For example, basic principles may be introduced to lay the groundwork for more advanced formulations; examples may be provided to reinforce key points; and old concepts may be reviewed, while introducing new ones in a way that maintains a student's interest.
"Because students can vary widely in their learning states, the presentation of concepts in a manner that facilitates effective learning will likewise vary between students. However, in a conventional school setting, students in a class are exposed uniformly to the same sequence of topics over time, which severely constrains learning because a progression of ideas that may enlighten one student will likely perplex another. Moreover, learning state variations between students are likely to be accentuated as budgetary constraints and various economic factors contribute to accelerating the trend toward larger class sizes and higher student-teacher ratios at many schools, thereby decreasing the likelihood of student success.
"Computer-assisted teaching has been used to provide a customized learning experience to individuals, making it more feasible to effectively teach large numbers of students with varied learning states. Typically, teachers create a database of subject items, and a computer system may permit students to pick from a variety of subject items to aid understanding. Students may also be permitted to repeat subject items to reinforce understanding.
"However, while conventional computer aided teaching systems are good at covering narrow subjects with disjoint concepts, they are poor at covering broader subjects that include complex connections between ideas. For example, conventional computer aided teaching systems are more effective at teaching vocabulary than language; more effective at teaching multiplication tables than algebra; and more effective at teaching dates of historical events than history. Current teaching systems focus on retention and fail to adequately address the connections between concepts, thereby favoring memorization over learning.
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