Carnegie Mellon University
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Can Help Seeking be Tutored? Searching for the Secret Sauce of Metacognitive Tutoring

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journal contribution
posted on 2007-01-01, 00:00 authored by Ido Roll, Vincent Aleven, Bruce M McLaren, Kenneth R Koedinger
In our on-going endeavor to teach students better help-seeking skills we designed a three-pronged Help-Seeking Support Environment that includes (a) classroom instruction (b) a Self-Assessment Tutor, to help students evaluate their own need for help, and (c) an updated version of the Help Tutor, which provides feedback with respect to students’ help-seeking behavior, as they solve problems with the help of an ITS. In doing so, we attempt to offer a comprehensive helpseeking suite to support the knowledge, skills, and dispositions students need in order to become more effective help seekers. In a classroom evaluation, we found that the Help-Seeking Support Environment was successful in improving students’ declarative help-seeking knowledge, but did not improve students’ learning at the domain level or their help-seeking behavior in a paper-and-pencil environment. We raise a number of hypotheses in an attempt to explain these results. We question the current focus of metacognitive tutoring, and suggest ways to reexamine the role of help facilities and of metacognitive tutoring within ITSs.