Understanding Wheel Spinning in the Context of Affective Factors

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



The notion of wheel spinning, students getting stuck in the mastery learning cycle of an ITS without mastering the skill, is an emerging issue. Although wheel spinning has been analyzed, there has been little work in understanding what factors underlie it, and whether it occurs in cultural contexts outside that of the United States. This work is an extension of an earlier analysis of 116 students in an urban setting in the Philippines. The authors found that Filipino students using the Scatterplot Tutor exhibited wheel spinning behaviors. The authors explored the impact of an intervention, Scooter the Tutor, on wheel spinning behavior and did not find that it had any effect. They also analyzed data from quantitative field observations, and found that wheel spinning is prevented by engaged concentration, caused by confusion, but not causally related to boredom. This result suggests that the problem of wheel spinning is primarily cognitive in nature, and not related to student motivation. However, wheel spinning was positively correlated with gaming the system, and causal analysis suggests that wheel spinning causes gaming.