The Math-Whizz Tutor has been updated to intervene right away when students are really struggling in an exercise.
Since its inception, Math-Whizz has been designed to simulate the behavior of a human tutor. Central to this goal is delivering each lesson at just the right level of challenge – not too difficult, not too easy. When done well, this leads students to a state of heightened immersion – what psychologists call flow – resulting in deeper engagement and better learning outcomes.
That moment-to-moment experience is the inspiration behind the latest enhancement to the Math-Whizz tutor. The feature has been guided by a simple but powerful question:
What is the best way to respond when a child is stuck?
Whizz has explored this question for over a decade. We know from working with students and teachers around the world how important it is to give students the right amount of help at all times.
On the one hand, getting stuck is an important part of learning and the research is clear that productive struggles should be encouraged. Sometimes all a student needs is brief reinforcement. That’s why we have hints to guide students through the exercise when they need a bit of extra help.
But quite often students need more – a recap of a prior lesson or maybe just a breather from the current topic. We have seen how dispiriting it can be for students to have to wait until the exercise is complete to get the support they deserve.
With this release, the Math-Whizz tutor is on hand to intervene at the precise moment of need.
The tutor is now able to detect when a student is struggling, question-to-question. If the tutor feels the student would be better served having a break from the lesson, the professor will pop up with a reassuring message and the student will move on.
The lesson will be marked as fail and denoted by a red arrow in the student’s Lesson History, so teachers and parents are kept fully aware of which lessons the student has struggled in.
The tutor will proceed as usual, ensuring the student receives timely support throughout their tutoring journey. The tutor is ready to intervene in all lessons except Rapid Recall (since that is already geared towards speed).
This enhancement follows the hugely popular Jumping feature that already allows students to accelerate past exercises that are not challenging them. Jumping is one of our most popular releases ever and it’s easy to see why: this single feature has helped accelerate students’ learning journeys to the tune of over 100,000 hours of saved tutoring time.
This release is a natural extension (we’ve even coined it ‘Jumping Backwards’ here at Whizz) and works towards the same important goal: the right level of challenge at all times for every child. It is another significant step towards simulating the behaviour of a human tutor and affording every child a rich, personalized learning experience that supports them at every moment.