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A comparative analysis of metaheuristics applied to adaptive curriculum sequencing

Authors
  • Martins, André Ferreira1
  • Machado, Marcelo2
  • Bernardino, Heder Soares1
  • de Souza, Jairo Francisco1
  • 1 Federal University of Juiz de Fora,
  • 2 Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro,
Type
Published Article
Journal
Soft Computing
Publisher
Springer-Verlag
Publication Date
May 06, 2021
Pages
1–16
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s00500-021-05836-9
PMID: 33972824
PMCID: PMC8099996
Source
PubMed Central
Keywords
Disciplines
  • Application of Soft Computing
License
Unknown

Abstract

The effective adoption of online learning depends on user satisfaction as distance education approaches suffer from a lack of commitment that may lead to failures and dropouts. The adaptive learning literature argues that an alternative to achieve student satisfaction is to treat them individually, delivering the educational content in a personalized manner. In addition, the sequencing of this content—called Adaptive Curriculum Sequencing (ACS)—is important to avoid cognitive overload and disorientation. The search for an optimal sequence from ever-growing databases is an NP-Hard combinatorial optimization problem. Although some approaches have been proposed, it is challenging to assess their contributions due to the lack of benchmark data available. This paper presents a procedure to create synthetic dataset to evaluate ACS approaches and, as a concept proof, analyzes metaheuristics usually used in ACS approaches: Genetic Algorithm, Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) and Prey–Predator Algorithm using student’s learning goals and their extrinsic and intrinsic information. We also propose an approach based on Differential Evolution (DE). The computational experiments include synthetic datasets with a varied amount of learning materials and real-world datasets for comparison. The results show that DE performed better than the other methods when less than 500 learning materials are used while PSO performed better for larger problems.

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