Narrative Arc for Effective Learning

Narrative Arc is one of the research projects under the umbrella of Navigated Learning project at Gooru Labs, IIITB.

The Narrative Arc refers to presenting the sequence of learning activities as a narrative to the learner to make learning interesting and to help the learner navigate seamlessly through the learning space. The project has two parts: First is creating the learning pathways automatically given a corpus of learning resources, such that the generated pathways are semantically coherent and pedagogically progressive. Second part is modelling an AI-based automatic conversational agent which makes the learning pathway interesting and adapts the learning pathways according to the users knowledge and preferences. Here, the learning pathway is first presented to the user according to her learning goal, then the conversation agent interacts with the learner to keep the user interested in the learning pathway and to augment her knowledge. The agent also gauges the knowledge of the learner and supports the learner by providing knowledge and if required re-route the learner through a different learning pathway.

Following link has the presentation for the project in RISE 2019 workshop held at IIITB on 14-16 Feb 2019. The title of the presentation is “Narrative Arc Computation towards Digital Empowerment”. Narrative Arc Computation

  • Lead Researcher
  • Current Project Members
    • Mirambika Sikdar(Summer Intern)
  • Previous Project Members
    • Nikhil Bukka Sai
    • Sai Sri Harsha Vallabhuni
    • Rochan Avlur ( Intern)
    • Niharika Chaudhari (Intern)
    • Vibhav Agarwal
    • Abhiramon R
    • Sanket Kutumbe
    • Karan Kumar Gupta
    • Srinivasan P.S
  • Publications

Navigated Learning

Figure 1: Navigated Learning

Navigated Learning is a new paradigm of learning that aims to balance the three independent requirements: Scale, Personalization and Social Interactions. Please see figure 1 that shows parallels among the concepts that are technological solutions and the three requirements of learning.

This is achieved by representing learning as situated within an abstract “competency space,” and computing semantic embeddings of learning objects and learners into the competency map. The competency map is organized as a progression space– which is a metric space with a partial order. Here, not only is there a notion of “distance” between any two points, but also an element of “progress”. These embeddings can be computed for any semantic object like learning resources, activities, learners, etc. Each point in the space represents a “competency” or a demonstrable skill that can be acquired by the learner.

A primary element of research into Navigated Learning is to construct a competency map for a given subject area of study and to build semantic embedding models for different kinds of objects relevant to the learning process. Semantic embeddings may take different forms depending on the nature of the object. While some objects can be neatly represented as points in the logical space, other objects may be represented by regions, pathways or other contours in the space. In an organizational setting, objects that are embedded onto this space include not just learning resources and learners, but also departments, projects and other organizational elements that require or work with relevant skill sets represented in the competency map.

Navigated learning is manged by a “Learning Navigator” with which every learner interacts. The Learning Navigator (or just, navigator), continuously interacts with the learning map and the learner to perform the following:

Locate: Based on data about their activities and outcomes from formal assessments, the “Locate” module of the navigator embeds learners in the space, and continuously updates their location. Unlike a geographical space, a learner may have acquired several competencies in the competency space. Thus, their location is not identified by a point, but by a data structure called a Skyline, that is detailed in a later section.

Curate: Once a learner’s location is known, based on their stated goals or recently acquired competencies, a set of further candidate competencies are identified. Curating is based on competency modeling principles, that identifies complementary, supplementary and conflicting competencies.

Mediate: This is the logic by which the navigator navigates the learner by making suggestions. Mediation is based on computing an underlying “Narrative Arc” that computes a semantically coherent and meaningful learning sequence individualized for each learner. Mediation also involves suggesting connections with other learners as well as group learning activities.

This project is sponsored by Gooru Learning.

Team Members:

Dr Aparna Lalingkar (PostDoctorate Research Fellow)

Ms Chaitali Diwan (PhD Research Scholar)

Ms Praseeda Kalkur (PhD Research Scholar)

Mr Naman Churiwala (Research Associate)

Mr Prakhar Mishra (MS Research Scholar)

Mr Shyam Kumar VN (MS Research Scholar)


Chaitali Diwan, Srinath Srinivasa, and Prasad Ram.Automatic Generation of Coherent Learning Pathways for Open Educational Resources, In Proceedings of the Fourteenth European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning (EC-TEL 2019), Springer LNCS, Delft, Netherlands, 16-19 September 2019 (to appear)

Aparna Lalingkar, Srinath Srinivasa, PrasadRam (2019), Characterization of Technology-based Mediations for Navigated Learning, Advanced Computing and Communications, Vol 3 (2), June 2019, ACCS  Publications, pp. 33-47. (Paper Link)

Praseeda, Srinath Srinivasa and Prasad Ram “Validating the Myth of Average through Evidences” In: The 12th International Conference on Educational Data Mining, Michel Desmarais, Collin F. Lynch, Agathe Merceron, & Roger Nkambou (eds.) 2019, pp. 631 – 634

Chaitali Diwan, Srinath Srinivasa, and Prasad Ram. Computing Exposition Coherence of Learning Resources, In Proceedings of The 17th International Conference on Ontologies, Databases and Applications of Semantics (ODBASE 2018), Valletta, Malta, October 22-26, 2018, Springer International Publishing.

Lalingkar, A.; Srinivasa, S. & Ram, P. (2018). Deriving Semantics of Learning Mediations, In Proceedings of the 18th IEEE International Conference on Advanced Learning Technologies (ICALT), IEEE, pp. 54-55. (Cited by 1 as per GoogleScholar citation index) (Paper Link)

Sub Projects

Details of Project Hosted

The competency map with polylines is hosted in the link here

The corresponding learning map for the learner is hosted in the link here

Sridhar Mandyam K

Sridhar is a Network Science researcher with experience of 30+ years as an IT/analytics professional in Research and Development in academics and industry. He is currently associated with Web Science Lab at IIIT-B as visiting faculty.
His current research is focused on models and approaches to study social learning and collective behavior in the world of social networks, and how businesses and other entities are seeking to reach and serve this vast virtual society. Research in these directions is aimed at developing an understanding of how network structure impacts opinion dynamics and the emergence of different types of group behaviors, and the possibilities for creation of solutions that yield economic or other benefits by engendering cooperative, collective choices.
He has previously been with C-DAC, India’s national initiative in supercomputing, heading its systems software group. He has also been with IBM’s supercomputing division in the US, as part of the Technical Strategy and Architecture Group. He has also been an entrepreneur for over a decade, co-founding an R&D flavored analytics firm in the late ‘90s, which developed tools for identity data management.
Sridhar holds bachelors and masters degrees in Physics from IIT Kharagpur and IIT Madras respectively, an M.Tech in Physical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bangalore, and Ph.D degree the in the area of parallel computing from the Department of Electrical Engineering, IISc, Bangalore, India. He has also held several visiting positions at research establishments in India and overseas, including the, the Department of Electrical Engineering at Queens University, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK, the Department of Computer Science, as an invited scholar at University of Texas at Austin under the Fulbright Program of the US, and at the Center for Information-Enhanced Medicine (CiEMED), Institute of Systems Science, NUS, Singapore.