Learning from human tutoring

Michelene T.H. Chi, Stephanie A. Siler, Heisawn Jeong, Takashi Yamauchi, Robert G. Hausmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

573 Scopus citations


Human one-to-one tutoring has been shown to be a very effective form of instruction. Three contrasting hypotheses, a tutor-centered one, a student-centered one, and an interactive one could all potentially explain the effectiveness of tutoring. To test these hypotheses, analyses focused not only on the effectiveness of the tutors' moves, but also on the effectiveness of the students' construction on learning, as well as their interaction. The interaction hypothesis is further tested in the second study by manipulating the kind of tutoring tactics tutors were permitted to use. In order to promote a more interactive style of dialogue, rather than a didactic style, tutors were suppressed from giving explanations and feedback. Instead, tutors were encouraged to prompt the students. Surprisingly, students learned just as effectively even when tutors were suppressed from giving explanations and feedback. Their learning in the interactive style of tutoring is attributed to construction from deeper and a greater amount of scaffolding episodes, as well as their greater effort to take control of their own learning by reading more. What they learned from reading was limited, however, by their reading abilities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)471-533
Number of pages63
JournalCognitive Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Artificial Intelligence


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