Version 3 (modified by davea, 14 years ago) (diff)


Berkeley Open Learning Technology (Bolt


Bolt is a software infrastructure for creating web-based training courses. Using Bolt, you can

  • create exercises or quizzes of various types: multiple-choice, fill in the blank, graphical, etc.
  • specify a course as a sequence of alternating lessons and exercises.

Given such a course, Bolt does the following:

  • Guide students sequentially through the course;
  • If the student fails a quiz, repeat one or more lessons and retry the quiz (Bolt courses are designed to be "fail-proof");
  • Store each student's progress in a database, and resume at that point when they return to the course later.
  • Maintain an estimate of each student's mastery of the course material.

Bolt's deeper goal is to let you create better courses: to find out exactly how effective each lesson is, to make statistically valid comparisons of alternative lessons, and to make "adaptive" courses in which different lessons are used for different groups of students. This is done as follows:

  • Bolt records the timing and results of each student interaction (viewing a lesson or completing an exercise) in a database.
  • Demographics (age, sex, education level, nationality) are stored for each student.
  • Course documents can have various types of "control structures". For example, they can specify that a lesson should be chosen randomly from a given set, or should be chosen based on student demographics.
  • Bolt offers macro-analytic tools that let you see the overall flow of students through your course (in the style of Charles Minard's map of Napoleon's march to Moscow in the war of 1812), revealing the points where they are getting bored or discouraged.
  • Bolt offers micro-analytic tools that let you compare a set of alternative lessons, identifying those which are uniformly better, or are better for a particular demographic subgroup.

Creating exercises

Course documents