JUCS - Journal of Universal Computer Science 21(1): 66-92, doi: 10.3217/jucs-021-01-0066
Learning Analytics at "Small" Scale: Exploring a Complexity-Grounded Model for Assessment Automation
expand article infoSean Goggins, Wanli Xing, Xin Chen§, Bodong Chen|, Bob Wadholm
‡ University of Missouri, Columbia, United States of America§ Purdue University, West Lafayette, United States of America| University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, United States of America
Open Access
This study proposes a process-oriented, automatic, formative assessment model for small group learning based on complex systems theory using a small dataset from a technology-mediated, synchronous mathematics learning environment. We first conceptualize small group learning as a complex system and explain how group dynamics and interaction can be modeled via theoretically grounded, simple rules. These rules are then operationalized to build temporally-embodied measures, where varying weights are assigned to the same measures according to their significance during different time stages based on the golden ratio concept. This theory-based measure construction method in combination with a correlation-based feature subset selection algorithm reduces data dimensionality, making a complex system more understandable for people. Further, because the discipline of education often generates small datasets, a Tree-Augmented Naïve Bayes classifier was coded to develop an assessment model, which achieves the highest accuracy (95.8%) as compared to baseline models. Finally, we describe a web-based tool that visualizes time-series activities, assesses small group learning automatically, and also offers actionable intelligence for teachers to provide real-time support and intervention to students. The fundamental contribution of this paper is that it makes complex, small group behavior visible to teachers in a learning context quickly. Theoretical and methodological implications for technology mediated small group learning and learning analytics as a whole are then discussed.
learning analytics, small group learning, assessment, complex systems