Given the important role that meta-cognitive processes play in learning, intelligent tutoring systems should not only provide domain-specific assistance, but should also aim to help students in acquiring meta-cognitive skills. As a step toward this goal, we have constructed a Help Tutor, aimed at improving students' help-seeking skill. The Help Tutor is based on a cognitive model of students' desired help-seeking processes, as they work with a Cognitive Tutor (Aleven et al., 2004). To provide meta-cognitive tutoring in conjunction with cognitive tutoring, we designed an architecture in which the Help Tutor and a Cognitive Tutor function as independent agents, to facilitate re-use of the Help Tutor. Pilot tests with four students showed that students improved their help-seeking behavior significantly while working with the Help Tutor. The improvement could not be attributed to their becoming more familiar with the domain-specific skills being taught by the tutor. Although students reported afterwards that they welcomed feedback on their help-seeking behavior, they seemed less fond of it when actually advised to act differently while working. We discuss our plans for an experiment to evaluate the impact of the Help Tutor on students' help-seeking behavior and learning, including future learning, after their work with the Help Tutor.
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