Help abuse

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When student use a tutoring system that gives hints upon request, they sometimes ask for hints when they don't really need them. This is called help abuse.

A particularly vivid type of help abuse can occur when the tutoring system uses a hint sequence. Student sometimes click so rapidly on the "explain more" or "next" button that they have no time to read the hints. They stop when they reach the last, bottom out hint, which tells them exactly what to do next. They typically study the bottom out hint for sometime, then dismiss the hint, and enter do what it says to do (or try to). This behavior is called 'clicking through hints'. This type of help abuse is also referred to as a type of gaming the system.

A study by Aleven et al. (2006) in one of the Geometry Cognitive Tutor units found that students abuse the hint facilities on 36% of their actions (when counting successive rapid hint-requests as a single action, this number drops to 14%).

Aleven, V., McLaren, B. M., Roll, I., & Koedinger, K. R. (2006). Toward meta-cognitive tutoring: A model of help seeking with a Cognitive Tutor. IJAIED, a(16), 101-30.