Diagnosis of Intentions and Interactive Support of Planning in a Functional, Visual Programming Language

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Möbus, Claus ; Thole, Heinz-Jürgen ; Schröder, Olaf (1993)

Based on a theoretical framework of problem solving and knowledge acquisition, criteria for intelligent knowledge communication systems and help design are described. The ABSYNT Problem Solving Monitor for the acquisition of basic functional programming concepts in a visual language is designed according to these criteria. lt incorporates hypotheses testing of solution proposals, and a learner model is designed to supply user-adapted help. New is a third feature, which is presented in this paper: Planning programs with goal nodes. According to our theory, the use of these nodes is an indicator of the planner's intentions. They have to be replaced later by runnable ABSYNT operators or program trees. Furthermore the learner can test hypotheses about the correctness of ABSYNT programs containing operator and goal nodes. The planning component of ABSYNT rests on a sound transformation approach that enables the derivation of functional programs from specifications. The ABSYNT goal nodes are derived from corresponding transformational rules. Though the transformation approach is technically sound it is not accessible to novices and sometimes even to experts. By offering goal nodes for hypotheses testing in the problem solving phases of deliberating and planning, we hope to make derivational programming accessible even to beginners at very early stages of expertise.
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