Off topic conversation in expert tutoring: Waste of time or learning opportunity?


While many aspects of tutoring have been identified and studied, off topic conversation has been largely ignored. In this paper, off topic conversation during 50 hours of one-to-one expert tutoring sessions was analyzed. Two distinct methodologies (Dialogue Move occurrence and LIWC analysis) were used to determine the anatomy of off topic conversation. Both analyses revealed that the expected social talk occurred, but pedagogically-relevant talk emerged as well. These occurrences may reflect the discussion of more global pedagogical strategies. These findings suggest that off topic conversation may serve a useful purpose in tutoring and that further investigation is warranted.

Publication Title

Educational Data Mining 2010 - 3rd International Conference on Educational Data Mining

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