10 December 2014: Learning analytics to understand student learning strategies and outcomes: a study involving scientific simulations

Presenter: Barney Dalgarno, Charles Sturt University, Australia

Hosted by Dr Mathew Hillier, University of Queensland, Australia starting 07:00AM UST/GMT. Duration 1 Hour.

An ongoing challenge in an online or blended learning context is the provision of formative feedback to students when they undertake online learning or assessment tasks independently. Often we are limited to providing feedback on their learning outcomes through an assessment of the products created during their learning or of performance on exams. Feedback on learning strategies is much more difficult when the learning is undertaken independently online or away from the campus. The emerging area of learning analytics has great potential in addressing this through techniques that allow us to draw upon and analyse data collected during online activities.

This seminar reported on a study in which initial conclusions about the relative merits of two online learning designs were thrown into question once student learning strategies, visible through learning analytic techniques, were analysed. The study compared learning outcomes from exploration and manipulation of computer-based scientific simulations with the outcomes from the presentation of simulation output. A key implication of the study is that in order to understand the learning resources and support our students need when undertaking online learning activities we need a deeper understanding of the strategies they adopt.

As well as describing the learning resources, experimental results and findings from this study, the seminar discussed the broader question of how we can scrutinise student learning strategies in these kinds of online tasks. Various alternative approaches to analysing student online learning log file data was also discussed along with the potential for the use of such methods to underpin the provision of dynamic support for students based on an automated characterisation of their learning strategies.

Further information

Session Recording

Webinar recording

You Tube version

A screen cast of the session.

Start playing via You Tube: http://youtu.be/ZGyubLL4Jvw (You can choose to view in standard definition or high definition and in full screen mode).


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