Itech seminar monday october 27 2003 david w brooks
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iTech Seminar Monday, October 27, 2003 David W. Brooks. Help Seeking and Help Design in Interactive Learning Environments. Vincent Alevin Elmar Stahl Silke Schworm Frank Fischer Raven Wallace. Review of Educational Research. Fall 2003 Volume 73 Number 3 pp. 277-317.

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iTech Seminar Monday, October 27, 2003 David W. Brooks

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iTech SeminarMonday, October 27, 2003David W. Brooks

Help Seeking and Help Design in Interactive Learning Environments

Vincent Alevin

Elmar Stahl

Silke Schworm

Frank Fischer

Raven Wallace

Review of Educational Research

Fall 2003

Volume 73

Number 3

pp. 277-317

Interactive Learning Environments

  • Intelligent tutoring systems

  • Computer-assisted instruction

  • Educational hypermedia systems

  • Project-oriented learning environments

Distinguish between procedural help and tutoring.

Steps in seeking help:

  • Become aware of need

  • Decide to seek

  • Identify helpers

  • Elicit help

  • Evaluate help-seeking episode

why do ILEs provide on-demand help at all? Would learners not be better off if help provision was largely or completely under system control?

Perspectives of Help

  • Cognitive skill acquisition

  • Tutoring

  • Vygotskian

  • Complement self-explanations

Complement self-explanations

  • As much self-explanation as possible, as much instructional explanation as necessary

  • Provision of feedback

  • Provision on learner demand

  • Minimalism

  • Progressive help

  • Focus on principles


Help-seeking may increase cognitive load.

Help text design is an issue.

there is scant evidence in research on teaching that addresses the details of responding to individual student requests for help.

a number of important differences exist between help seeking in social contexts such as classrooms and help seekin g with ILEs.

Learners do not tend to make effective use of help available in ILEs.

What kind of help is most effective?

Not much empirical basis to speak about this.

Learner Factors

Prior knowledge

  • of the domain

  • of the learning environment




Not Yet Studied

  • Goal orientation

  • Epistemological beliefs


Different instructional goals result indifferent types of ILEs whose help systems provide different types of information.

Learners often use help systems ineffectively or ignore them altogether. However, when they do use help, learning processes and outcomes may be substantially improved.

A variety of learner characteristics influence help seeking, individually or in combination.

Different kinds of help may cause different types of help-seeking activities and result in different learning outcomes.

Design- and learner-related factors interact in their effect on help seeking and learning.

Depending on the learning context, the same type of help may trigger different help-seeking behavior, which in turn is related to different effects on learning outcomes.

Thank you.



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