What factors influence a learner’s help-seeking behaviour?

Here children are engaged in supporting each other in the learning process.

Introduction: In the subject of education psychology help-seeking behaviour in the context of learning has been studied more in the classroom context and other studies are also taking place. In the process of learning, help-seeking depends on various factors like need, familiarity with other students or teacher, self-efficacy, attitude of the learner and teacher towards learner also matters a lot. At the same time the previous experience and existing environment.

This clarifies the importance of help-seeking and how it varies from one situation to another and the role of gender also.

Help-Seeking Beliefs about Learning the Learner and Teacher


  The belief of the Learner The belief of the Teacher
1. Help-seeking is seen as a support structure by the learner Help-seeking is good behaviour for learning



2. To learn better there is no harm in seeking help The maximum that can happen is not getting help after demanding but in most cases, we get the help. Mental readiness for the same is important.
3. If behaviour of the fellow students is pure and generous help-seeking is easy. Like to ask for help for learning from teachers and fellow students Children ask for support to teachers they believe will listen and understand them. Children seek help from students whom they trust most.


4. I hesitate to seek help when we think about what the other person will think about me. Help-seeking also depends on the assurance of privacy
5. When there is less attachment to other students the help-seeking behaviour for learning

is avoided

Children avoid seeking help whom they think will make a joke or undermine their capability
6. When fellow students support us even without asking knowing our condition it feels good Students avoid seeking help from teachers whom they feel fear
7. When we know that we have got enough support we avoid help-seeking and try to do the task at hand by oneself Teachers who are friendly towards students, student seek help from them
8. Supporting my fellow students give me real happiness Believe that people are supportive also matters for help-seeking.
9. Like to Support students who never ask for help Mindset can be a reason for the denial of help-seeking for learning
10. Has positive experiences of getting and doing help Has a positive experience of getting and doing help and believe in helping each-other


Analysis of the Belief and Alignment with Theories

If we analyze the responses of the learner and teacher, we find that help-seeking behaviour is believed and seen as a way to find a solution for better learning. Here teacher and learner both are aware of this folk belief which is coming from his/her personal experience and surrounding. The student’s belief about learning is that there is no harm in seeking help from others for learning. While the teacher holding the same belief reflects on the previous experiences and is mentally ready for the negative consequence of being rejected for help. This belief facilitates the notion that initiative for help-seeking should be done by the people who need help or support. The issue of ego and mindset also comes here in form of belief. Trust in the person who is the potential helper is matters a lot and student trust then they proceed otherwise they avoid seeking help for learning. At the same time, the learner and teacher both say that the person seeking help should not be undermined if this happens the person seeking help might change his/her mind from asking for help.

The decision of help-seeking become important when the task seems little more difficult and learner feel that seeking support would be crucial for them to achieve the goal of doing a particular task. The all leaner doesn’t approach for help also. Some are willing and some are hesitant for the same. Some also lack self-belief that other students or teachers will support him/her. Understanding of that Folk Psychology or belief that there are people who hesitate to ask for help. This belief gives the other learner an insight and willingness to support such students. In the case of the above analysis learners and teachers both have firm beliefs in the idea of giving help and asking for help at the same time. This can be termed as a growth mindset where learner and teacher both believe in the idea of help-seeking and giving as well.

According to Nelson-Le Gall (1981) model which was later elaborated by Newman (1994; see also Ryan, Pintrich, & Midgley, 2001) this is said that learner first becomes aware and then decides to seek help and look for a potential helper. After that, they use strategy to get help and reflect back on the same. If we use this model to the analysis we find an alignment with the theory that learner seeks for help after being aware of the need and look for helpers whose attitude is positive and they are more likely to support. The self-reflection part is also aligned when they give importance to previous experience and importance for understanding their own help-seeking behaviour.

To understand the other dimension of help-seeking behaviour we can take the support of this paper named Situational Indexes of Achievement Motivation, Help-Seeking, and Performance: Influences of the Learning Context and Gender Differences according to this paper, “In the academic domain, help-seeking behaviours have been identified as adaptive learning-related self-regulatory strategies (e.g. Nelson-LeGall,1992) that may be encouraged by a task involving contexts. Particularly, these contexts have been found to favor seeking indirect instrumental help, such as hints (Butler & Neuman,1995), whereas in ego-involving contexts, students are less likely to seek help (e.g. Ryan, Gheen & Midgly,1998) or more likely to prefer solutions (i.e. full help) over hints (i.e. instrumental help) to expedite successful task completion (Butler & Newman,1995).”

The analysis of the learner and teacher makes it clear that help-seeking is a self-regulatory strategy because the leaner is the decision-maker and he/she has her preferences for the same. When they face ego-involved context like their privacy got disclosed, making jokes or misunderstood as less competent they tend to avoid asking for help for learning. According to the belief of the teacher when students feel that teacher will provide full support then they ask for a solution rather than a hint. This is clear from the detailed interview of the teacher.

The previous experience of getting the help of learner and teacher are aligned with theories. The positive cause-effect relationship of asking for help and getting help strengthen the belief and learner and teacher that this behaviour is good. For learning purposes, this can be used frequently and especially at the time of need. Avoidance of help-seeking behaviour is also visible when the learner says that what will people say, this impact adversely, the help-seeking behaviour. On the other hand, the teacher emphasizes the trust element is crucial is help-seeking behaviour and that facilitates help-seeking for learning.

Learner and teacher’s belief a comparative analysis

  1. Both learner and teacher have a positive belief about help-seeking behaviour for learning.
  2. The learner believes that there is no harm in help-seeking for learning, while the teacher said that one may not get the help this can be a negative consequence but one should try for the same.
  3. Learner gives hint for a potential learner like who are pure and generous while teacher clearly mentions the qualities are factors that lead to help-seeking confirmation like listening, understanding by the teacher and trust from the learner’s part.
  4. According to the learner factors that negatively influence the help-seeking behaviour are ‘What will people say’ or fear if they will undermine my capacity or they will make jokes of me. While the teacher gives emphasis to fear-free support, assurance of privacy and admits the learner’s point of not getting joked etc.

Conclusion: Help-seeking behaviour for learning is a virtue that can be developed in the learner to get long term benefit. For the 21st century where collaboration and learning from each-other becoming a part of day-to-day life to resolve problems, this behaviour has become very crucial. This also leads to becoming an independent learner who believes in peer learning and support for better learning in the classroom and outside the classroom. Some important factors which affect help-seeking are trust, listening, empathy, a fear-free environment, being aware of the need for help-seeking and making decisions for asking, reflecting back on the same, and being thankful for the people who supported. Understanding this thought that all people are not comfortable in asking help students become aware of taking the initiative to help other students in the learning process.



  1. Aleven, V., Stahl, E., Schworm, S., Fischer, F., & Wallace, R. (2003). Help Seeking and Help Design in Interactive Learning Environments. Review of Educational Research, 73(3), 277-320. Retrieved November 27, 2020, from


  1. Christophe Gernigon, Fabienne D’arripe-Longueville, Véronique Debove & Aude Puvis(2003)Situational Indexes of Achievement Motivation, Help-Seeking, and Performance: Influences of the Learning Context and Gender Differences,Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport,74:4,473-479,DOI: 1080/02701367.2003.10609117


  1. Richard S. Newman. How Self-Regulated Learners Cope with Academic Difficulty: The Role of Adaptive Help Seeking.


  1. Andrews, K. (2008). It’s in Your Nature: A Pluralistic Folk Psychology. Synthese, 165(1), 13-29. Retrieved November 27, 2020, from



  1. Knowles, J. (2002). Is Folk Psychology Different? Erkenntnis (1975-), 57(2), 199-230. Retrieved November 27, 2020, from


इस लेख के बारे में अपनी टिप्पणी लिखें

%d bloggers like this: