Modeling how students learn: The Cascade project

The primary objective of this project was to develop a computational theory of how students learn conceptually rich cognitive skills, such as Newtonian physics.  The development was grounded in detailed analyses of human talk-aloud protocols.  At times, our ideas were embodied in a computer program named Cascade, which learned a cognitive skill by doing the same sort of academic work that students do: studying examples, solving problems, getting feedback from a teach or tutor, etc. The project began in January, 1988, and continued until approximately 1998.




The Cascade model of the self-explanation effect

Learning events


Applications of simulated students

Modeling qualitative physics cognition

Last update: July 12, 2009.