Digital Resources for Instructional Design in CBT Authoring Using Latent Semantic Analysis

Period of Performance: 04/03/2001 - 10/03/2001


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Knowledge Analysis Technologies, LLC
4940 Pearl East Circle, Suite 200
Boulder, CO 80301
Principal Investigator


The Advanced Distributed Learning infrastructure will greatly expand the opportunity to use computer based training (CBT). Comparable opportunities are rapidly increasing in corporate training, institutional education, and individual life-long learning.However, the development of a high quality CBT requires both subject matter and instructional design expertise, which are seldom found in the same person. Current authoring tools for CBT do not offer help in instructional design. Doing so would allow more people to author high quality CBT more quickly and at less expense.The proposed research will use Latent Semantic Analysis (LSA) as the basis of a digital resource for instructional design in CBT authoring. LSA is a well-validated machine-learning technique that simulates human understanding of the meaning of text passages through mathematical analysis of a large body of electronic source material. LSA provides a search-engine capability that accepts queries in natural language and returns relevant target material even if expressed in different words. In the CBT application, LSA will allow subject matter experts to enter queries in their own words and retrieve relevant text written in the unfamiliar terminology of professional instructional designers. Another of LSA's advantages is the unusual rapidity with which such a system can be implemented.Computer Based Training (CBT) is a well developed and highly effective and economical way to increase the skill and knowledge level of work forces in military, government, and private sector businesses. The Internet opens up almost unlimited opportunities to deploy CBT in new environments, and for new skills and subjects. However, CBT courses and units are currently very expensive and time consuming to produce. A tool to help in authoring CBT would be of wide interest to commercial providers of military, government and corporate training. In collaboration with one or more publishers of commercial authoring tools for CBT, or of providers of web-based instruction, we would develop, generalize, and harden the proposed prototype into a marketable commercial product. KAT already has working relationships with major distance education providers with a need for such a system, and is aggressively pursuing teaming arrangements with providers of corporate training and corporate training systems.