Applying Dustin to Other Simulations

The simulator inside Dustin is fairly simple. One way to view Dustin is as a series of small, carefully scripted scenes in a play in which the student is obliged to figure out, and then memorize his lines. The simulator tracks how well the student is following the script and triggers prespecified behaviors when the student goes off track.

The method we used to build Dustin works well with situations in which there is a prescribed path of behavior. The small interchanges of language we use to get through our daily activities tend to follow such prescribed paths. You expect the people at the coffee shop to know what to do when you say you'll take your coffee "white" just as they expect you to know what to do when they say "one eighty-five." Language is far from the only domain which contains situations that are similarly scripted. Doing your laundry, balancing your checkbook, and baking a lasagna are three scenes that could readily be scripted into a version of Dustin targeted at, for example, the new college graduate.

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