Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Mr. Collins: A collaboratively constructed, inspectable student model for intelligent computer assisted language learning

  • 95 Accesses

  • 15 Citations


This paper describes ‘Mr. Collins’, a student model for intelligent computer assisted language learning (ICALL), which is based on the results of empirical studies conducted in the target domain. ‘Mr.Collins’ is constructed and updated through student/system collaboration. This collaborative approach to learner modelling aims both to promote student reflection through discussion of the student-model, and to provide more detailed and accurate information for the model. Due to his own contributions the student is less likely to regard the model with suspicion. Because the student model is the focus of the system, it must contain more information than is typically found in learner models. Therefore, in addition to domain knowledge and misconceptions, ‘Mr. Collins’ also models learner confidence, background languages and learning strategies. The typical acquisition sequence for the target rules is explicitly modelled to provide an additional perspective from which the system may assess learner input.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Abraham, R.G. &Vann, RJ. (1987). Strategies of two language learners: A case study, in A. Wenden & J. Rubin, eds.,Learner Strategies in Language Learning (pp. 85–102). Hemel Hempstead: Prentice Hall.

  2. Anderson, J.R., Boyle, CF. & Yost, G. (1985). The geometry tutor.Proceedings of 9th International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence, vol. 1,pp. 1–7.

  3. Bull, S. (1994a). Student modelling for second language acquisition.Computers and Education 23(1/2): 13–20.

  4. Bull, S. (1994b). Learning languages: Implications for student modelling in ICALL.ReCALL 6(1): 34–39.

  5. Bull, S., Pain, H. & Brna, P. (1993). Student modelling in an intelligent computer assisted language learning system: The issues of language transfer and learning strategies.Proceedings of International Conference on Computers in Education, Taipei, Taiwan, pp. 121–126.

  6. Bull, S., Pain, H. & Brna, P. (1994). Student modelling beyond domain knowledge.Proceedings of International Conference on User Modeling '94, Hyannis, MA, pp. 197–204.

  7. Chan, T-W. & Baskin, A.B. (1988). ‘Studying with the prince’ the computer as a learning companion.Proceedings of ITS 1988, Montreal, pp. 194–200.

  8. Collins, A. & Brown, J.S. (1988). The computer as a tool for learning through reflection, in H. Mandl & A. Lesgold (eds),Learning issues for intelligent tutoring systems (pp. 1–18). New York: Springer-Verlag.

  9. Del Soldato, T. (1992). Domain-based vs. motivation-based instructional planning, In C. Wood, R. Davidge & P. Costa, eds.,The fifth White House papers: Graduate research in the cognitive and computer sciences in Sussex, University of Sussex Research Paper CSRP 251, pp. 30–33.

  10. Dillenbourg, P. & Self, J.A. (1992). PEOPLE POWER: A human-computer collaborative learning system.Proceedings of ITS 1992, Montreal, pp. 651–660.

  11. Holmes, J. and Ramos, R. (1991). Talking about learning: Establishing a framework for discussing and changing learning processes, in C. James & P. Garrett, eds.,Language Awareness in the Classroom (pp. 198–212). Harlow: Longman Group UK Limited.

  12. Kellerman, E. (1977). Towards a characterisation of the strategy of transfer in second language learning.Interlanguage Studies Bulletin 2(1): 58–145.

  13. O'Malley, J.M. & Chamot, A.U. (1990).Learning Strategies in Second Language Acquisition. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  14. Oxford, R. (1990).Language Learning Strategies, What Every Teacher Should Know. Boston, MA: Heinle & Heinle Publishers.

  15. Pienemann, M. (1989). Is language teachable? Psycholinguistic experiments and hypotheses.Applied Linguistics 10(1): 52–79.

  16. Rich, E. (1983). Users are individuals: Individualizing user models.International journal of Man-Machine Studies 18: 199–214.

  17. Ringbom, H. (1983). Borrowing and lexical transfer.Applied Linguistics 4(3): 207–212.

  18. Ringbom, H. (1986). Crosslinguistic influence and the foreign language learning process, in E. Kellerman & M. Sharwood Smith, eds.,Crosslinguistic Influence in Second Language Acquisition (pp. 150–162). Oxford: Pergamon Press.

  19. Ringbom, H.(1987).The Role of the First Language in Foreign Language Learning. Clevedon: Multilingual Matters Ltd.

  20. Schwind, C.B. (1990). An intelligent language tutoring system.International Journal of Man-Machine Studies 33: 557–579.

  21. Self, J. A. (1988). Bypassing the intractable problem of student modelling.Proceedings of ITS 1988, Montreal, pp. 18–24.

  22. VanLehn, K. (1988). Student modeling, in M.C. Poison & J.J. Richardson, eds.,Foundations of Intelligent Tutoring Systems (pp. 55–78). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.

  23. Wenden, A. (1987). How to be a successful language learner Insights and prescriptions from L2 learners, in A. Wenden &J. Rubin, eds.,Learner Strategies in Language Learning. (pp. 103–117). Hemel Hempstead: Prentice Hall.

  24. Wenger, E. (1987).Artificial Intelligence and Tutoring Systems, Computational and Cognitive Approaches to the Communication of Knowledge. Los Altos, CA: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, Inc.

Download references

Author information

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Bull, S., Pain, H. & Brna, P. Mr. Collins: A collaboratively constructed, inspectable student model for intelligent computer assisted language learning. Instr Sci 23, 65–87 (1995).

Download citation


  • Empirical Study
  • Domain Knowledge
  • Learning Strategy
  • Accurate Information
  • Learner Model