You are here:

Help seeking, learning and contingent tutoring


Computers & Education Volume 33, Number 2, ISSN 0360-1315 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


The focus of this paper is the application of the theory of contingent tutoring to the design of a computer-based system designed to support learning in aspects of algebra. Analyses of interactions between a computer-based tutoring system and 42, 14- and 15-year-old pupils are used to explore and explain the relations between individual differences in learner–tutor interaction, learners’ prior knowledge and learning outcomes. Parallels between the results of these analyses and empirical investigations of help seeking in adult–child tutoring are drawn out. The theoretical significance of help seeking as a basis for studying the impact of individual learner differences in the collaborative construction of ‘zones of proximal development’ is assessed. In addition to demonstrating the significance of detailed analyses of learner–system interaction as a basis for inferences about learning processes, the investigation also attempts to show the value of exploiting measures of on-line help seeking as a means of assessing learning transfer. Finally, the implications of the findings for contingency theory are discussed, and the theoretical and practical benefits of integrating psychometric assessment, interaction process analyses, and knowledge-based learner modelling in the design and evaluation of computer-based tutoring are explored.


Wood, H. & Wood, D. (1999). Help seeking, learning and contingent tutoring. Computers & Education, 33(2), 153-169. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved August 25, 2019 from .

This record was imported from Computers & Education on January 30, 2019. Computers & Education is a publication of Elsevier.

Full text is availabe on Science Direct:


Cited By

View References & Citations Map

These links are based on references which have been extracted automatically and may have some errors. If you see a mistake, please contact