What Are Intelligent Tutoring Systems?

Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS) can transform teaching and learning by offering customized educational experiences to students with diverse learning needs and preferences. But what are intelligent tutoring systems?

Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS) are educational applications that utilize artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to interact with students, perform instructional functions typically reserved for teachers or tutors, and provide personalized learning based on individual needs.

Boy wearing headphones at computer

This article examines the use cases of ITS in real-life situations.

Sarah has difficulty understanding complex mathematics in a conventional classroom setting and could benefit from an Intelligent Tutoring System (ITS). The ITS evaluates her learning needs and preferences, offering tailored instruction and feedback that assists her in overcoming issues with mathematics and enhances her learning.

Tom, a student with a strong interest in science, has progressed faster than his peers and is looking for academic material that will match his current level. An intelligent tutoring system (ITS) can provide personalized instruction to support his advanced knowledge and encourage further development.

Let’s explore the field of intelligent tutoring systems in greater detail.

What Are Intelligent Tutoring Systems?

Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS) use a combination of artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide students with individual instruction or feedback without a human teacher. The goal of these systems is to promote meaningful and effective learning.

Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS) offer tailored feedback to individual students’ strengths and weaknesses for a variety of subjects, such as math, science, and language learning.

ITS also records the student’s performance and adjusts instruction accordingly. They can be implemented in various educational contexts, such as K–12 schools, colleges, universities, and corporate training programs.

Intelligent tutoring systems are computer programs that utilize artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide personalized instruction and feedback to learners without teacher assistance.

Such systems incorporate multiple technologies to foster meaningful learning in various educational contexts, helping students in a variety of areas.

Related Article: The Future of AI Technology in Education: 2023 Ultimate Guide

How Intelligent Tutoring Systems Work

Intelligent tutoring systems (ITS) are computer programs based on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). They directly interact with students while taking into account their psychological state and prior knowledge to offer them the kind of individualized instruction that tutors or teachers typically provide.

Use of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Technologies

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies is transforming many industries.

ML is a subfield of AI that allows computers to acquire knowledge through data analysis and learning algorithms, enabling them to identify patterns, gain insights, and make decisions.

AI and ML have various applications, such as engineering, energy research, healthcare, finance, transportation, and more. These technologies can automate tasks through ML algorithms, providing predictive models and optimizing processes for increased accuracy and efficiency.

In healthcare, AI and ML can identify patterns from large datasets to personalize treatments for better outcomes. Finance can benefit from the detection of fraud, optimization of investment strategies, and improved customer experience.

The application of AI and ML technologies has revolutionized many industries, leading to more efficient use of data, automation, and optimization.

As these technologies develop, we can anticipate further enhancements in the accuracy, efficiency, and personalization of services provided by various industries.

Interaction with Students

Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS) are applications that use artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies to deliver educational content. One of the main features of ITS is its capacity to provide a tailored student experience by adjusting the instruction material and pace according to each student’s individual needs and abilities.

The use of personalized learning techniques by ITS includes natural language processing for communication with students through text or speech, as well as visual and interactive elements to deliver content and provide feedback.

Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS) offer real-time interaction with students, immediate feedback, and the capability to recognize knowledge gaps. The systems can be adjusted in response to a student’s progress in order to tailor their instruction.

ITS provides a bespoke learning experience for students, using AI and ML technologies to tailor their interactions according to individual needs and learning styles. This allows for an effective and efficient learning process.

Related Article: The Ethics of AI: Balancing Innovation with Responsibility

Instructional Functions

Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS), which utilize artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies, are educational applications that aim to provide personalized instruction to students. The ITS performs several instructional functions to reach this goal.

Initial assessment of student knowledge and skills is conducted by ITS with the use of AI algorithms and machine-learning techniques tailored to the individual needs and preferences of the student.

Data analytics is employed to measure progress and provide feedback for further reinforcement of knowledge.

Instructional technology systems (ITS) provide teaching material in a problem-solving context. This approach presents the instructional material for the specific task or problem that the student is attempting to solve, allowing them to use their knowledge in a real-world situation and reinforcing the effectiveness of the instruction.

ITS can provide a structured goal representation of the problem-resolution process, allowing students to gain an understanding of how to solve it. This approach has the potential to teach problem-resolution skills and lead to increased knowledge transferability.

Instructional technology systems (ITS) use AI and ML technologies to personalize instruction, contextualize material for learners, and develop problem-solving skills. This provides an efficient way of meeting individual student needs.

Related Article: Education and AI: The Future of Learning

Types of Intelligent Tutoring Systems

Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS) use computers to provide immediate and customized instruction or feedback to learners without requiring assistance from a teacher. These systems are utilized in a variety of educational and training domains.

Programming-Tutor Architecture (PTA) is a type of intelligent tutoring system that uses a cognitive architecture to model the problem-solving skills of expert programmers and provide relevant feedback to learners.

Cognitive tutors are a type of intelligent tutoring system that utilizes a cognitive model of the student’s problem-solving skills to allow for personalized feedback and instruction.

These systems have been implemented in various areas, such as mathematics, physics, and language comprehension.

GBITS is a form of ITS that uses game-based scenarios to assist in teaching problem-solving skills, blending the appeal of games with the beneficial properties of personalized instruction.

Virtual Reality Intelligent Tutoring Systems (VRITS) utilize virtual reality environments to deliver a more interactive and immersive learning experience.

Such systems are designed to tailor instruction, give feedback, and offer guidance to individual learners, making them suitable for high-risk and complex domains such as military and medical training.

Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS) involve utilizing AI and ML technologies to personalize instructional activities, providing unique learning experiences that are tailored to the needs of each individual learner.

Related Article: Will Teachers Be Replaced by Technology? Empathy vs. Efficiency

Benefits of Intelligent Tutoring Systems

Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS) employ artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies to provide personalized instruction and feedback to learners.

ITS offer several benefits, such as reduced dependence on human resources, accessibility, real-time data analysis, and improved student engagement.


Intelligent tutoring systems (ITS) are beneficial due to their accessibility. These systems can be accessed at any time of the day, which is beneficial for those with limited access to traditional educational resources or who need to manage other commitments alongside their learning.

The use of Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS) allows learners to gain remote instruction, feedback, and high-quality education from any location around the world. This makes ITS a useful tool for distance learning and for those without reliable traditional educational resources.

The accessibility of ITS is advantageous, allowing learners autonomy and the ability to learn at their preferred pace. This could widen educational access, increasing inclusivity in the field of education.

Related Article: ChatGPT for Teachers: Transforming the Teaching Experience

Real-Time Data Analysis with Immediate Feedback

Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS) provide real-time data analysis and immediate feedback, which can help learners identify and address mistakes, maintain engagement, and reduce frustration. Additionally, it may decrease any anxiety associated with learning.

Data analysis in real-time can provide instructors and developers with insights into how learners are progressing, as well as which areas they may need more support in. This action can optimize the learning experience to make it more effective and efficient.

The use of real-time data analysis and feedback in ITS can provide learners with personalized instruction and feedback that is suited to their individual needs and preferences.

This could increase engagement, reduce frustration, and ensure better outcomes for learners. Furthermore, this data analysis can be used to optimize teaching methods, improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the overall process.

Personalized Learning

Intelligent Tutoring Systems (ITS) utilize artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies to provide personalized instruction and feedback to learners based on their individual needs and preferences. This type of personalized learning approach has various benefits for learners.

Personalized learning has been identified as having the potential to increase student engagement and motivation due to increased interest in content that is tailored to individual interests and preferences.

Additionally, it has been suggested that with personalized instruction and feedback aligned with learners’ specific needs, academic achievement can be improved.

Personalized learning can contribute to the development of a growth mindset amongst learners, as it enables them to recognize that intelligence and abilities are malleable.

This improvement in outlook helps them to be more resilient and adaptive in the face of challenges and difficulties, thus leading to enhanced learning potential.

Personalized learning is a key advantage of ITS. It allows learners to have an experience tailored to their individual needs and preferences, which can promote engagement, achievement, and the development of a growth mindset. This ultimately leads to improved learning outcomes.

Related Article: How to Check for AI Writing: AI Detection Tools for Teachers

Reduced Dependence on Human Resources

Intelligent tutoring systems provide the benefit of reduced dependence on human resources. These systems are able to replace instructional roles traditionally filled by teachers or tutors, potentially resulting in both financial and operational efficiency gains.

Additionally, these types of systems offer a level of ongoing availability that is not typically possible with human resources.

Increased Student Engagement

Intelligent tutoring systems offer increased student engagement in the learning process. These systems interact directly with learners and deliver personalized, tailored instruction. This has been found to increase motivation and stimulate critical thinking.

Moreover, higher engagement levels lead to better attention and focus, which result in improved learning outcomes and academic achievement.

Related Article: What Is Adaptive Learning Technology? AI Meets Education

Costs Associated with Intelligent Tutoring Systems

Intelligent tutoring systems have been demonstrated to be effective in teaching certain subjects, though their creation can be challenging and require substantial labor. Moreover, developing and implementing such systems may come at considerable expense.

Nevertheless, several countries have put money into tutoring programs with smart tutoring systems to help students do better, showing that the benefits might be greater than the costs.

Effectiveness of Intelligent Tutoring Systems

Research has indicated that intelligent tutoring systems (ITSs) can be effective in improving learning outcomes in a range of subject areas such as language, law, mathematics, medicine, physics, and reading comprehension.

A meta-analysis analyzing the performance of ITSs on K–12 students’ reading comprehension showed a positive effect, suggesting that ITSs have the potential to increase student learning results.

The effectiveness of ITSs, however, will vary depending on the subject area, instructional design, and implementation.

Teacher Involvement and Intelligent Tutoring Systems

Studies have demonstrated that intelligent tutoring systems are effective for teaching subjects such as algebra or grammar. However, teacher involvement is essential to making these computerized systems successful. It involves monitoring the students’ performance and making adjustments to the feedback and instruction.

Related Article: AI Detection for Schools: Upholding Academic Integrity

Applications of Intelligent Tutoring Systems

Intelligent tutoring systems use artificial intelligence and machine learning to provide educational instruction, covering a wide range of subjects from language, law, and mathematics to medicine and physics. They can also be used for tasks such as offering advice on comprehension.

The Application of Law Using Intelligent Tutoring Systems

Researchers in the legal field have looked into how intelligent tutoring systems can be used to teach legal argumentation and case analysis skills, such as how to use cases and rules to make decisions, how to represent legal arguments graphically, and how to judge the relevance of a case.

Military Training and Intelligent Tutoring Systems

A study has found that an Intelligent Tutoring System (ITS) designed specifically to teach rifle marksmanship on moving targets is effective in military training. Additionally, intelligent team tutoring systems have been created to provide team training using artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to improve performance and collaboration.

Future of Intelligent Tutoring Systems

In recent decades, intelligent tutoring systems (ITSs) have been implemented in classrooms as an educational tool to provide customized instruction or feedback. Further research is underway to improve the effectiveness and applications of ITS.

Advancements in Technology

Advances in machine learning, natural language processing, and data analytics are expected to continue impacting the development of intelligent tutoring systems, leading to a higher degree of personalized and adaptive teaching experiences.

Also, the growing popularity of online and remote learning could lead to more improvements in intelligent tutoring systems since these methods offer a different way to provide individualized help to students than the usual ones.

Potential for Global Impact

Intelligent tutoring systems have the potential to significantly impact global education. AI-based learning allows for personalized and practical learning experiences to be offered to millions of learners globally, specifically in online or distance education contexts.

This could provide wide access to quality education to those who may not otherwise have access.

Related Article: What Is an Assistive Listening Device? Help for Students

Final Thoughts

Intelligent tutoring systems have the potential to revolutionize education, providing personalized and effective instruction to students.

Challenges such as cost and teacher involvement remain, but ongoing research and technological advancements suggest a promising future for ITS.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning offer an opportunity to make learning accessible and equitable for everyone worldwide.

Trina Greenfield, Author
SmackDown Media LLC

About the Author:
Trina Greenfield, the owner of SmackDown Media LLC, is passionate about providing information to those considering their educational options. Trina is a seasoned writer, content creator, and website owner with a passion for unbiased research, educational platforms for children and adults, as well as all things family-related.