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HCII Seminar Series - Ken Koedinger

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Ken Koedinger
Hillman Professor and METALS Program Director, Carnegie Mellon University


Newell-Simon Hall 1305

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"Opportunities Matter: Hybrid Human-Computer Tutoring Toward Educational Equity"

Across 27 datasets of students learning online, we find an astonishing regularity in the rate they learn. That’s the good news. When given quality practice opportunities with feedback and as-needed instruction, all students learn, making quite similar progress per opportunity. The bad news is we find a wide range in their general performance indicating inequities in the preparation they get prior to course entry. Pursing the hypothesis that these achievement gaps result from opportunity gaps, we have implemented a hybrid human-computer tutoring approach to support disadvantaged math students in getting needed learning opportunities. Results of a quasi-experiment spanning the pandemic year of 2020 show a promising doubling of math learning for students receiving hybrid tutoring relative to demographically matched students in the same urban schools.

Speaker's Bio

Kenneth R. Koedinger is a professor of Human Computer Interaction and Psychology at Carnegie Mellon University. Dr. Koedinger has an M.S. in Computer Science, a Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology, and experience teaching in an urban high school. His multidisciplinary background supports his research goals of understanding human learning and creating educational technologies that increase student achievement. His research has contributed new principles and techniques for the design of educational software and has produced basic cognitive science research results on the nature of student thinking and learning. Koedinger directs LearnLab (, which started with 10 years of National Science Foundation funding and is now the scientific arm of CMU’s Simon Initiative ( LearnLab builds on the past success of Cognitive Tutors, an approach to online personalized tutoring that is in use in thousands of schools and has been repeatedly demonstrated to increase student achievement, for example, doubling what algebra students learn in a school year. He was a co-founder of Carnegie Learning, Inc. ( that has brought Cognitive Tutor based courses to millions of students since it was formed in 1998, and leads LearnLab (see, now the scientific arm of CMU’s Simon Initiative (see Dr. Koedinger has authored over 250 peer-reviewed publications and has been a project investigator on over 45 grants. In 2017, he received the Hillman Professorship of Computer Science and in 2018, he was recognized as a fellow of Cognitive Science. 

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