The Institute for the Learning Sciences

INDIE: An Authoring Tool for Goal-Based Scenarios

Indie is an authoring tool that enables non-programmers to create multimedia educational software. Specifically, Indie lets you build Goal Based Scenarios of the "investigate and decide" type. In an "investigate and decide" GBS, the user's task is to conduct an investigation (running laboratory tests, conducting interviews, etc.) and make a decision based on the results of the investigation.

Indie was developed at The Institute for the Learning Sciences (ILS). Most past development on Indie was done by graduate students Wolff Dobson and Seth Tisue, and staff programmer Steve Silverstein. Other programmers who have contributed code to Indie include Brendon Towle, Brian Davies, and Joe Herman.

Indie was developed using Macintosh Common Lisp.

A web-based version of Indie now exists. This is a complete rewrite, with an emphasis on simplicity and portability, rather than rich multimedia. The core goal-based scenario structure remains the same. For more information, contact Chris Riesbeck.


Two Indie applications built at ILS were used by students in classes at Northwestern University: Nutrition Clinician and Is it a Rembrandt?. Masters students using Indie have also built a number of working prototypes in domains ranging from astronomy and ecology to business training and auto repair.

Click here for a complete list of Indie projects, including sample screen captures.


Also, Wolff's Ph.D. thesis is all about Indie.