Using an intelligent tutoring system as a textbook supplement for personalized learning
Intelligent Tutoring System (ITS) programs are new technologies that may help to personalize learning paths to meet the needs of students with varying cognitive abilities. The purpose of this descriptive case study was to explore how educators describe the web-based ITS program, CompassLearning, in relation to the varying cognitive needs of students. The results of this study may guide instructional leaders to support learning beyond textbooks to the educational staff with the assistance of teacher leaders by promoting an atmosphere of blended learning. The theoretical framework of the study was utilized to find emerging themes as possible solutions to the specific problem—textbooks may not meet the varying cognitive needs of students at a school district in rural Michigan. Research questions bounded by propositions guided the development of questions for the focus group discussion and follow-up interview protocols. The data gathered from focus group discussion and individual interview questions answered by seven participants were transcribed, uploaded into NVivo10, and guided by propositions for thematic analysis. Codes were grouped corresponding to each interview question using NVivo10 to support data triangulation of the following: focus group discussion, individual interview, narrative information, and a document. Seven themes emerged from the data analyses: textbooks alone insufficient, web-based, ITS programs promote personalized learning, CompassLearning supplements textbooks, motivational theories, learning style inventories, response to interventions, and instructional adjustments. A recommendation for future multi-case study research with different school demographics and alternate web-based ITS platforms is suggested.