Moodle research

Which Moodle logs to use in education research?

 
Picture of Alexander Brown
Which Moodle logs to use in education research?
 

Hello everyone,

I'm currently studying for a PhD in physics education at the University of Geneva, Switzerland.

I'm setting up a set of Moodle courses to use as a preparation course for high school students (ages 16-19) from around the world to use ahead of field trips to a physics lab. We're also planning on using Moodle courses as a "worksheet" for the students when they're on-site.

I'm curious to know what formal research, if any, has already looked into the use of Moodle in this sort of context. Specifically, I'm interested in knowing what variables people have used to measure their hoped-for outcomes. Has behaviour in Moodle been modeled onto "real-world" student characteristics such as motivation, curiosity etc? 

For example, if one looks at a students' logs, can one correlate "number of times a student viewed a certain activity" with "curiosity" ? etc etc

I am of course searching the academic literature in the traditional ways, but I'm wondering what I might be missing that the community might know about.

Thanks

Alex

 
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Tim at Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary
Re: Which Moodle logs to use in education research?
Group Core developersGroup Documentation writersGroup Particularly helpful MoodlersGroup Plugin developers

You can correlate anything with anything, http://www.tylervigen.com/spurious-correlations. Whether that tells you anything about learning is harder to work out, as I assume you already know.

I think it is also well established that more enthusiastic students, who were better at the subject to start with, are much more likely to engage with any tool you put in front of them. They are also much more likely to get a better final mark. This tells you exactly nothing. However, if you have just built some fancy new tool, and then do an evaluation that shows use of the tool correlates to better final outcome, it is very tempting to conclude that your tool is a great success.

Also, it can be a good idea to survey students to get their opinions, but don't believe their self-reported behaviour. Sally Jordan has a rule of thumb that any survey that asks students "Was the feedback helpful" will be answered 90% yes. However, when you look at the analytics, that can be amounts students where more than 10% of them clearly did not make any effort to use the feedback to improve their work

So that is tells you want not to do, which is unhelpful, but I have to do something. I assume you have advisers who can give expert advice on educational research methods.

In Moodle, don't just look at the logs. Also look at the other data in the database. E.g. for quizzes, use the data like https://docs.moodle.org/dev/Overview_of_the_Moodle_question_engine#Detailed_data_about_an_attempt. That gives a much clearer picture what is going on.

 
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Picture of Alexander Brown
Re: Which Moodle logs to use in education research?
 

Thanks for the reply. I guess "correlate" wasn't quite was I was going for. I suppose it's too much to hope that there's a well-establish evidence-base to support using "hover time" as a surrogate measure for "curiosity state" (say)

In our case we can control for students' pre-existing interest in the subject because we only give them access to the prep course after they complete a single-activity Questionnaire course.

And yes, advisers and all that, but they're less a bit less familiar with the ins-n-outs of the tool itself.

Thanks for the tip about the other data in quizzes, I partly meant "logs and data" originally but it's a helpful reminder.

 
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Picture of Elizabeth Dalton
Re: Which Moodle logs to use in education research?
Group Moodle HQGroup Plugin developers

Hi Alexander,

My preliminary research indicates that actual submissions of content by learners are a much stronger predictor than any amount of viewing, which would probably also include "hovering," but it's always good to see researchers testing these ideas empirically. See the Moodle Research site for some potentially helpful references. Good luck with your research!

 
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