BLITS – Self-directed learning for business communication

Computer-based educational systems can teach procedural expertise inexpensively yet effectively if a holistic, self-directed instructional paradigm is used. The proposed educational system is an example. It teaches users who know at least the basics of a foreign language, to write effective business letters in that language.

A case-based search engine proposed to these users passages extracted from correspondence which has been used with success in their business community, and lets them systematically “assemble” the letter needed for the circumstances at hand. Applying Case-Based Reasoning to a knowledge-base of model letters, the system selects the passages according to the communicative intent which they user defines for each paragraph of the desired letter; the system also takes into account both the user’s and the recipient’s personality and culture.

The most innovative aspect of the system is the underlying non-directive educational philosophy: “teach better by teaching less.” It draws inspiration from such pedagogical currents as Constructivism and Self-Directed Learning. The Web based system, in fact, does not offer the user a “best choice” from among the passages it proposes, but rather leaves defining what is “best” to the user/learner.

Selected Publications

  • GASPARETTI F., MICARELLI A., SCIARRONE F.. A Web-based Training System for Business Letter Writing. Knowledge-Based Systems – Special edition: Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Blended Learning, 22(4), pp.287-291, Elsevier B.V., ISSN: 0950-7051, 2009 (Preprint¬†PDF,¬†DOI).¬†Bibtex
  • MICARELLI A., BOYLAN P., GAETA M., SCIARRONE F.. The self-directed learning paradigm for intelligent educational systems. Cognitive Systems, Publications, ISSN: 0256-663X, 6(4):387-408, April 2005.