An Empirical Study of Information Retrieval and Machine Reading Comprehension Algorithms for an Online Education Platform

  • Eduardo F. Montesuma UFC
  • Lucas C. Carneiro UFC
  • Adson R. P. Damasceno UECE
  • João Victor F. T. de Sampaio UFC
  • Romulo F. Férrer Filho UFC
  • Paulo Henrique M. Maia UECE
  • Francisco C. M. B. Oliveira UECE


This paper provides an empirical study of various techniques for information retrieval and machine reading comprehension in the context of an online education platform. More specifically, our application deals with answering conceptual students questions on technology courses. To that end we explore a pipeline consisting of a document retriever and a document reader. We find that using TF-IDF document representations for retrieving documents and RoBERTa deep learning model for reading documents and answering questions yields the best performance with respect to F-Score. In overall, without a fine-tuning step, deep learning models have a significant performance gap with comparison to previously reported F-scores on other datasets.


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MONTESUMA, Eduardo F.; CARNEIRO, Lucas C.; DAMASCENO, Adson R. P.; SAMPAIO, João Victor F. T. de; FÉRRER FILHO, Romulo F.; MAIA, Paulo Henrique M.; OLIVEIRA, Francisco C. M. B.. An Empirical Study of Information Retrieval and Machine Reading Comprehension Algorithms for an Online Education Platform. In: SIMPÓSIO BRASILEIRO DE TECNOLOGIA DA INFORMAÇÃO E DA LINGUAGEM HUMANA (STIL), 13. , 2021, Evento Online. Anais [...]. Porto Alegre: Sociedade Brasileira de Computação, 2021 . p. 217-226. DOI: