Faster Teaching by POMDP Planning


Anna Rafferty, Emma Brunskill, Thomas Griffiths and Patrick Shafto

Paper type: 
Full paper
16. 13:30-15:00, Friday 1 July


Both human and automated tutors must infer what a student knows and plan future actions to maximize learning. Though substantial research has been done on tracking and modeling student learning, there has been significantly less attention on planning teaching actions and how the assumed student model impacts the resulting plans. We frame the problem of optimally selecting teaching actions using a decision- theoretic approach and show how to formulate teaching as a partially-observable Markov decision process (POMDP) planning problem. We consider three models of student learning and present approximate methods for finding optimal teaching actions given the large state and action spaces that arise in teaching. An experimental evaluation of the resulting policies on a simple concept-learning task shows that framing teacher action planning as a POMDP can accelerate learning relative to baseline performance.