Generalized Intelligent Framework for Tutoring (GIFT)

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Description | Background | Research Goals | Obtaining GIFT Software | Features | GIFT Documents | Releases


GIFT is an empirically-based, service-oriented framework of tools, methods and standards to make it easier to author computer-based tutoring systems (CBTS), manage instruction and assess the effect of CBTS, components and methodologies. GIFT is being developed under the Adaptive Tutoring Research Science & Technology project at the Learning in Intelligent Tutoring Environments (LITE) Laboratory, part of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory - Human Research and Engineering Directorate (ARL-HRED).



The technology gap for a reusable CBTS framework to support individual and small team tutoring was identified through a review of the intelligent tutoring systems (ITS) literature in 2009-2010 and the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) formalized the Army requirement for GIFT in their Army Learning Concept (2011). GIFT was brought to practice in 2011 by the LITE Lab team. The first public demonstration of GIFT was conducted at the Interservice/Industry Training Systems and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) in December 2011. The first release of GIFT was completed in May 2012.

While GIFT is being developed to facilitate the use of CBTS by the U.S. Army, the intent is to collaboratively develop GIFT and have it function as a “nexus” for CBTS research being conducted within government, industry and academia.


Research Goals

Adaptive Tutoring research goals that are driving future GIFT development include:
  • an ontology to represent the knowledge and concepts of CBTS, their relationships and their interactions
  • automated tools and processes to author CBTS, their models, and components
  • automated delivery methods for tailored instruction to individuals and small teams
  • a set of reusable, domain-independent modules that include standard processes and structures
  • a testbed methodology to support the systematic comparison and assessment of CBTS, their components, and instructional methods


Obtaining GIFT Software

After registering on this site, the GIFT software, including source code, is available for download on the Downloads tab


GIFT Features

GIFT consists of several core modules which interact with each other to perform the functions within a Computer-Based Tutoring System (CBTS). The Sensor Module has interfaces to support commercial sensors (e.g., Affectiva Q-Sensor) and its function is to format, process and store sensor data. The Domain Module provides domain content to support training, assesses trainee performance against standards, and provides domain-specific feedback to the trainee when the Pedagogical Module identifies the need for feedback based on trainee performance. The Trainee Module uses trainee performance, historical data (e.g., past performance) and sensor data to determine the trainee’s cognitive and affective state.

Each of these Modules is interchangeable through the virtue of interfacing standards. This allows each Module designer to select the type of approach that they believe is suited towards instruction. For instance, a sample configuration may have a webcam sensor that interprets Facial Action Units (FACs), a rule-based performance assessment, a Feedback Generation Engine that generates varying levels of hints upon request, a finite state machine of trainee assessment, and pedagogy that gives hints on failed problems.

This release features functional elements of each of the modules in a game-based tutoring domain. It does this on top of the training content created by the Games for Training (http://www.peostri.army.mil/PRODUCTS/USAGFTP/).
  • Sensor Module - includes the Affectiva Q sensor to measure electrodermal activity (EDA); a custom mouse sensor to measure EDA; and a software-based "Self Assessment" sensor that can be manipulated for testing
  • Learner Module - functions as a prototype pass-through module, collating information from VBS2 and the respective sensors
  • Pedagogical Module - acts to give hints on concepts which are 'underperforming'
  • Domain Module - listens to VBS2 traffic, assesses performance on 4 different tasks, supports varying levels of feedback as requested

In addition to functional Modules, several additional components are included for researchers, including:

  • The ability to author your research questions with the Survey Authoring Tool
  • The functionality to keep track of users and historical performance inside of a mySQL database
  • The ability to analyze sensor/performance/assessed data after an experiment in a collated .csv file, with your choice of software


GIFT Documents

A longer description of the current project and goals is available under the Documents Tab. This paper is the recommended paper for citation.
If you are looking to develop with GIFT, we recommend the "Unwrapping GIFT" series of documents, found here (http://ceur-ws.org/Vol-1009/0702.pdf) and in the GIFTSym proceedings each year.
The software documentation for GIFT is extensive, updated, and complete. It is available with each GIFT download, in the Downloads section.

Other information such as answers to the "I'm wondering where to get started...?" and "How can I automatically conduct an experiment with GIFT?" questions can be found in the GIFT Forums (https://gifttutoring.org/boards/6/topics/205) and (https://gifttutoring.org/boards/6/topics/342), respectively.


GIFT Releases

  • Version 1.0 (May 2012) (Initial Release)
  • Version 2.0 (November 2012)
  • Version 3.0 (May 2013)
  • Version 4.0 (November 2013)
  • Version 2014-1X (April 2014)
  • Version 2014-2 (September 2014)
  • Version 2014-3X (December 2014)
  • Version 2015-1 (June 2015) Current Release
  • Version 2015-2X (planned October 2015)