Publication Details

Prusty, G. B., Russell, C., Ford, R., Ben-Naim, D., Ho, S., Vrcelj, Z., Marcus, N., McCarthy, T., Goldfinch, T., Ojeda, R., Gardner, A., Molyneaux, T. & Hadgraft, R. (2011). Adaptive tutorials to target threshold concepts in mechanics — a community of practice approach. In Y. M. Al-Abdeli & E. Lindsay (Eds.), 22nd Annual Conference for the Australasian Association for Engineering Education (pp. 305-311). Barton ACT Australia: Engineers Australia.


We present our work on introducing Adaptive Tutorials in first and second year mechanics courses in Engineering. Adaptive Tutorials are interactive online modules where an Intelligent Tutoring System adapts the instruction level to learners, based on their individual performance. Through an ALTC-funded project, we formed a community of practice of Engineering Mechanics educators from a range of Australian universities. As a team, we began by identifying Threshold Concepts that if they are not grasped inhibit students’ learning before developing a set of Adaptive on-line Tutorials to target them. These Adaptive Tutorials were used by students throughout the first half of 2011, and were found to be both engaging and conducive to learning. In this paper, we present our approach and findings and discuss our strategy of giving educators pedagogical control over such advanced technologically-based instructional methods with the goal of increasing adoption and ultimately improving students learning.

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