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Locus of Feedback Control in Computer-Based Tutoring: Impact on Learning Rate, Achievement and Attitudes

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journal contribution
posted on 01.01.2001 by Albert T. Corbett, John R. Anderson
The advent of second-generation intelligent computer tutors raises an important instructional design question: when should tutorial advice be presented in problem solving? This paper examines four feedback conditions in the ACT Programming Tutor. Three versions offer the student different levels of control over error feedback and correction: (a) immediate feedback and immediate error correction; (b) immediate error flagging and student control of error correction; (c) feedback on demand and student control of error correction. A fourth, No-tutor condition offers no step-by-step problem solving support. The immediate feedback group with greatest tutor control of problem solving yielded the most efficient learning. These students completed the tutor problems fastest, and the three tutorsupported groups performed equivalently on tests. Questionnaires revealed little student preference among the four conditions. These results suggest that students will need explicit guidance to benefit from learning opportunities that arise when they have greater control over tutorial assistance.