Using Insights in Achieve to Help You Help Your Students

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The Student Login insights card is one of several insights in Achieve that can help you understand more about your students. 

For instance, the Student Login insight card can help identify patterns of student engagement with the Achieve platform (e.g., help you identify students who are not entering into the Achieve platform in the first place). 

After reviewing the Student Login insight card, if you find that some students may be disengaged or minimally engaged with the Achieve platform, these students may need additional support to appropriately seek help. Appropriate “help seeking” behaviors are important strategies that can help improve students’ learning. 

“We must regularly ask, not only ‘What are you learning?’ but ‘How are you learning?’”  (Weimer, 2012) 

As you’ve probably noticed from firsthand experience, not all students seek help in the same way. For instance, some students seek help in order to learn (e.g., ask for hints but seek to solve the problem on their own) while others tend to seek help in order to obtain a correct or ready-made answer (1, 3, 4)

Students who tend to be more concerned about performance may avoid seeking help or seek help in non-adaptive ways. In comparison, students who are focused on mastering concepts and self-improvement tend to seek help in more instrumental or adaptive ways and are less threatened by seeking help (4, 5, 6).

If you’re interested in encouraging more adaptive help-seeking behaviors in your students, consider the following:

  • Encourage students to intentionally use feedback that is given to them. For instance, you could ask students to go back and try to re-solve a problem that they initially got incorrect then determine if and to what extent they need further assistance (7).
  • Help students tolerate uncertainty. This can help students normalize occurrences of “not knowing” and help transition such occurrences into desirable intellectual challenges (8).
  • Promote learning and adaptive help seeking behaviors by providing students with explanations rather than direct answers (7).
  • Help students be metacognitive about their learning. Students who have stronger metacognitive skills seek help more effectively or adaptively (9).
  • Ensure you are clear and explicit with students about what skills or knowledge are needed to perform a given task, successfully complete an assignment, etc. You may ask yourself “What is the task that I want my students to do?” and “What do students need to know to do it?” (4).
  • Help-seeking can be associated with personal “costs” for some students. Be aware of this and try to establish classroom norms for help-seeking behaviors (e.g., rules or procedures by which students can obtain help like asking peers or interrupting  lecture to ask a question) Consider leveraging technology to reduce “costs” of seeking help (4).
  • Build a learning environment where students have permission to identify confusions (11)

Keep in mind, help-seeking usually requires some degree of social skills that students may need help to master. For instance, prosocial skills can be beneficial for help-seeking. But students may need some guidance in the skill of asking questions (10, 12). Your students can use the following steps to help them ask questions: 

  • Become aware that you need to ask a question or get help. 
  • Decide what you would like to know more about. 
  • Decide who to ask- someone who has the best information.
  • Think about different ways or words you could use to ask the question.
  • Decide on the right time and setting to ask the question. 
  • Ask the question.   



  1. Weimer, M. (2012,). Deep learning vs. surface learning: Getting students to understand the difference. Retrieved from:
  2. Huet N., Motak, L., & Sakdavong, J. (2016). Motivation to seek help and help efficiency in students who failed in an initial task. Computers in Human Behavior, 63, 584-593.
  3. Newman, R.S. (2002). How self-regulated learners cope with academic difficulty: the role of adaptive help-seeking. Theory into practice, 41, 132-138.
  4. Karabenick, S. A., & Berger, J. (2013). Help seeking as a self-regulated learning strategy. In H. Bembenutty, T. J. Cleary, & A. Kitsantas (Eds.), Applications of self-regulated learning across diverse disciplines: A tribute to Barry J. Zimmerman (pp. 237-261).
  5. Karabenick, S. A. (1998). Strategic help seeking: Implications for learning and teaching. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 
  6. Karabenick, S. A. (2003). Seeking help in large college classes: A person centered approach. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 28, 37-58.
  7. Webb, N. M., & Palincsar, A. S. (1996). Group processes in the classroom. In D. C. Berliner & R. C. Calfee (Eds.), Handbook of educational psychology (pp. 841-873). Simon & Schuster Macmillan.
  8. McCaslin, M., & Good, T. L. (1996). The informal curriculum. In D.C. Berliner & R.C. Calfee (Eds.), Handbook of educational psychology (pp. 622- 670). Simon & Schuster Macmillan.
  9. Tobias, S., & Everson, H. T. (2002). Knowing what you know and what you don't: Further research on metacognitive knowledge monitoring (College Board Rep. No. 2002-03). College Board. 
  10. Goldstein, A. P., & McGinnis, E. (1997). Skillstreaming the adolescent: New strategies and perspectives for teaching prosocial skills. (Revised ed.). Research Press. 
  11. Tanner, K. D. (2012). Promoting student metacognition. CBE - Life Sciences Education, 11, 113-120.  
  12. Gall, S. N. (1981). Help-seeking: An Understudied Problem-Solving Skill in Children. Developmental Review, 1(3), 224-246.


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I've been working in publishing since 1997, doing everything from the front desk to marketing and sales, and a few things in between. And I love working working with media and helping students succeed.