Electronic Theses and Dissertations




Xudong Huang



Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy




Experimental Psychology

Committee Chair

Xiangen Hu

Committee Member

Art Graesser

Committee Member

Scotty D. Craig

Committee Member

Vasile Rus


Help-seeking is a crucial behavior during learning in interactive learning environments (ILEs). Appropriate help-seeking promotes learning, while inappropriate help-seeking prohibits learning. However, many students are unaware of effective help-seeking behaviors. Therefore, research is needed to examine how students seek help in ILEs. Although worked examples are an important help type in ILEs, they have received little attention in this domain. Therefore, the current research investigated students’ interaction with worked examples in an ILE. Specifically, this research classified students’ help-seeking behaviors in an intelligent tutoring system (ITS) called ALEKS and examined the association between the help-seeking behaviors and mathematics learning outcomes. Additionally, this work tested the relationship between students’ help-seeking behaviors and several factors related to the student and the problem. The results revealed seven help-seeking behaviors related to worked examples. Three of them were associated with better learning and were viewed as recommended help-seeking behaviors; the other four were associated with worse learning and were viewed as non-recommended help-seeking behaviors. Additionally, the results showed that students with high prior knowledge and attendance engaged in more recommended help-seeking behaviors and fewer non-recommended help-seeking behaviors. Furthermore, students engaged in different help-seeking behaviors depending on individual and topic characteristics. The current research provides an initial test of help-seeking behaviors of all kinds in the context of a worked-example-based ITS, which is an important foundation to create a help-seeking model for ILEs using worked examples, and the results offer a strong supplement for the existing theory of help-seeking in ILEs (e.g., production rule model). Moreover, the findings can offer guidance for the design of ILE help functions. This work can also provide instructions for ILE classroom teachers to monitor student help-seeking behaviors and encourage the effective use of system help, and to instruct students to optimally utilize the help of the ILE to achieve better learning.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.