Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

An evaluation of an online algebra homework help -seeking system
by Li, Yuan-Ling, Ed.D., University of Southern California, 2008, 201; 3341908
Abstract (Summary)

The study focused on the effectiveness of an online algebra homework help-seeking system. Previous literature indicated that adaptive help seeking could result in better learning outcomes. The current study findings provided partial support to the measures of content understanding. On other aspects of problem solving, the adaptive help-seeking intervention has little effect on domain independent problem-solving strategies and self-regulation strategies. The help-seeking intervention to prompt participants to better learning outcomes resulted in mixed findings.

Although performance on the math tests was good to excellent, the participants generally did not seek help. The questions might have been too easy, possibly indicating a ceiling effect. The pilot study results indicated the help-seeking video used in the math study needed improvements. The shortcomings of the help-seeking video might partly explain why the participants did not ask for help. The effectiveness of the intervention therefore might have been limited, especially for participants who had not have received any previous help-seeking training. Some participants might have lacked awareness of the core value of help seeking, explaining the lack of desire to ask for help.

In the help-seeking video, the section explaining the guidance of the job performance self-checking record might have caused the participants to shift their attention away from the importance of help seeking. The effectiveness of the help-seeking intervention was not evidenced in the domain independent problem-solving strategies and self-regulation.

The participants’ grades were high and threats to internal validity were low; this indicates help-seeking strategies influenced the participants’ content understanding, but there was no impact on domain independent problem-solving or self-regulation. Previous researchers had found that adaptive help-seeking strategies could result in better learning outcomes. The conclusions in the current study regarding domain independent problem-solving strategies and self-regulation were inconsistent with the literature. Based on the results, a more effective instructional medium (i.e., help-seeking intervention) should be designed with more effective methods for testing help-seeking strategies.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: O'Neil, Harry
Commitee: Anson, Wendy, Rueda, Robert
School: University of Southern California
Department: Education(Psychology and Technology)
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 70/01, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational tests & measurements, Educational psychology, Educational technology
Keywords: Algebra, Help-seeking, Homework, Online
Publication Number: 3341908
ISBN: 9780549982319
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