Adaptive hypothesis scratchpad

Mentor: Karel Kroeze

Research has consistently shown that students encounter a range of problems when undertaking an inquiry (Mulder, Lazonder, & de Jong, 2010), and that guidance is required for inquiry learning to be most effective (Hmelo-Silver, Duncan, & Chinn, 2007).

Considering teachers’ time is an increasingly valuable resource, a number of adaptive software agents have recently been developed that can support teachers on specific tasks. Intelligent tutoring systems, adaptive environments, and automated feedback have all shown promising results. However, these systems are typically limited to a single application and domain, limiting their usefulness and decreasing their cost-efficiency.

Within the Adaptive Inquiry project, a number of adaptive scaffolds are created that can detect mistakes in, and provide feedback on specific inquiry products (e.g. hypotheses, concept maps), across a range of domains and applications. The first of these adaptive scaffolds is the Adaptive Hypothesis Scratchpad.

Screenshots from the Adaptive Hypothesis Scratchpad in Go-Lab. Note that while these screenshots contain the Dutch version of the tool, an English version is also available.


Your project will use the adaptive hypothesis scratchpad to investigate the effects of automated feedback. Together, we will choose a domain (e.g. electrical circuits, buoyancy) and specific focus of the research.

  • You will coordinate with one or more high schools to choose a domain and lesson plan that fits within the regular curriculum.
  • You will create a digital learning environment for the lesson.
  • You will conduct an experiment to measure the effects of adaptive feedback.
  • We will analyse the effects of adaptive feedback together, using advanced statistical methods.


Dutch (preferred) or English.

You will have to communicate with high schools and perform an experiment with students that are fluent in either Dutch or English. If you do not speak Dutch, communicating with schools and finding English speaking schools/classes will be more challenging.


  • Hmelo-Silver, C. E., Duncan, R. G., & Chinn, C. a. (2007). Scaffolding and achievement in problem-based and inquiry learning: A response to Kirschner, Sweller, and Clark (2006). Educational Psychologist, 42(2), 99–107.
  • Mulder, Y. G., Lazonder, A. W., & de Jong, T. (2010). Finding Out How They Find It Out: An empirical analysis of inquiry learners’ need for support. International Journal of Science Education, 32(15), 2033–2053.