On 5/14/06, Andrew Harrington <aharrin@luc.edu> wrote:
Navigating Between Lessons

I have been reading the discussion and trying the prototypes for Python
content delivery with great excitement.  On seeing how well you were
doing on the content delivery, my imagination took off and I wrote down
a whole bunch of brainstorming ideas below on an important independent
aspect of an interactive learning environment.  Just tonight the "Only
Python" thread touched on the area I have been thinking about with the
idea of choosing what comes next after evaluating code in the Crunchy Frog.

[snip - snip - snip     lots of interesting material cut out.]

There were a lot of great ideas expressed in this brainstorming tsunami.  I will latch onto a single theme.

For this to work, we need tutorials "snippets" ... lots of them.  I don't think we need to worry too much at this point about complex links between them, nor about the "syntax" required for those links.  I believe this is going to be the easy part ... after enough tutorial snippets are written.  If it is web-based, the whole machinery pretty much already exists. One way might be to embed keywords, including "difficulty ranking", inside tutorials and use a search engine to decide where to go next.  Or, rather than using a search engine, a "mind map" type of visual index can be created, with some automatic updating whenever a new tutorial snippet is added, or a keyword is added to that tutorial.  A variation on the them is that keywords inside a given tutorial could be given some relative weighting factor.

Regardless of the chosen method ... lots of tutorials will be needed.  Until then, I think that trying to come up with the ideal method to link them is probably pointless; a case of premature optimization....