Reciprocal Tutoring: Design with Cognitive Load Sharing

In IJAIED 26 (1)

Publication information


Cognitive load sharing, Collaborative learning, Learning companion, Learning Companions, Learning-by-being-tutored, Learning-by-teaching, Learning-by-tutoring, Reciprocal tutoring


Reciprocal tutoring, as reported in “Exploring the design of computer supports for reciprocal tutoring” (Chan and Chou 1997), has extended the meaning and scope of intelligent tutoring originally implemented in standalone computers. This research is a follow-up to our studies on a learning companion system in the late 1980s and its network version, Distributed West, in the early 1990s. In this commentary paper, we first provide the history of and rationale behind our research. We pose and discuss six design dimensions that comprise 12 design questions. This is done on the basis of our previous experience and current knowledge as well as by reexamining the design approach, cognitive load sharing, in the original paper. Our purpose is to shed light on the future design of reciprocal tutoring. One-to-one classrooms, in which students learn with their personal computing devices (Chan et al. 2006), are becoming prevalent in practice; therefore, we expect that reciprocal tutoring—learning-by-tutoring and learning-by-being-tutored—will also become widespread.