Sanchez, R.P., Bartel, C.M., Brown, E., & DeRosier, M. (2014). The Acceptability and Efficacy of an Intelligent Social Tutoring System. Computers & Education.
This study tested the acceptability and efficacy of an innovative intelligent tutoring system (ITS), Adventures Aboard the S.S. GRIN, that translates the evidence-based in-person Social Skills Group Intervention (SSGRIN) into an interactive game-based social tutorial. This randomized control pilot trial tested the first half of the social tutorial software for children with social skills challenges. Participating children in grades 3-5 were randomly assigned to immediate treatment (n=19) or wait-list control (n=17). User ratings indicated the software was easy to use and well-liked for this audience. The program was also associated with observable changes in social skills and behavior; children who interacted with Adventures Aboard the S.S. GRIN exhibited lower psychosocial distress and higher behavioral and emotional strength at post-test compared to children who did not. This pilot study offers important insights about the feasibility and potential effectiveness of online social skills training and lays the groundwork for future full-scale effectiveness testing. The advantages of using this state-of-the-art approach and its implications for improving social, emotional, and academic outcomes are discussed.