Understanding students’ academic help-seeking on digital devices – a qualitative analysis

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Christian Schlusche
Lenka Schnaubert
Daniel Bodemer


Undergraduate students are expected to regulate their learning processes and overcome knowledge-related obstacles. Academic help-seeking (HS) is a social strategy to acquire missing information or explanations. As mobile devices are a popular means for communication between students, services on those devices are of interest for computer-mediated academic HS. The goal of the presented study is to determine requirements for the design of digital services that support asking for and receiving help. The article presents students’ perspectives on the knowledge-related obstacles that cause them to seek help through computer-mediated communication via mobile devices. Moreover, it presents respondents’ perceived inhibitions about asking peers for help. Finally, the perceived technical drawbacks of popular services are outlined. Data acquired from N = 59 semi-structured interviews were analyzed using qualitative content analysis. The students reported that they experience knowledge-related obstacles while working on assignments and that they avoid HS when they are worried about social humiliation. They also reported that a messenger service was used most frequently for HS. The results are valuable for designers and practitioners in the field of computer-mediated academic HS.


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Schlusche, C., Schnaubert, L., & Bodemer, D. (2023). Understanding students’ academic help-seeking on digital devices – a qualitative analysis. Research and Practice in Technology Enhanced Learning, 18, 017. https://doi.org/10.58459/rptel.2023.18017