Hint systems may negatively impact performance in educational games

Eleanor O'Rourke, Christy Ballweber, Zoran Popović

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

20 Scopus citations


Video games are increasingly recognized as a compelling platform for instruction that could be leveraged to teach students at scale. Hint systems that provide personalized feedback to students in real time are a central component of many effective interactive learning environments, however little is known about how hints impact player behavior and motivation in educational games. In this work, we study the effectiveness of hints by comparing four designs based on successful hint systems in intelligent tutoring systems and commercial games. We present results from a study of 50, 000 students showing that all four hint systems negatively impacted performance compared to a baseline condition with no hints. These results suggest that traditional hint systems may not translate well into the educational game environment, highlighting the importance of studying student behavior to understand the impact of new interactive learning technologies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationL@S 2014 - Proceedings of the 1st ACM Conference on Learning at Scale
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages10
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Event1st ACM Conference on Learning at Scale, L@S 2014 - Atlanta, GA, United States
Duration: Mar 4 2014Mar 5 2014


Other1st ACM Conference on Learning at Scale, L@S 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityAtlanta, GA


  • Behavioral analytics
  • Educational games
  • Hint systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Software


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