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.
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.
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.
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!
I am in the same PhD boat. My work is looking specifically at SOCIAL RELATIONSHIPS and social learning (Pappert, Lave, Vygotsky, Dougiamus etc) and some pilot work (using Moodle) see sample chart below I did a while back from stats crunching (not great) confirmed some of the underlying theories about the importance of socially mediated relationships in eLearning (Coultas and Boulay, Sharpe (2004), Laurillard's Conversational benefits)
Despite the age of your post, I hope / I think we might be able to assist each other? What year are you into your PhD?
(details also send by PM)
Oh dear, tried sending my details but looks like youve been and gone form the moodle community.
Before I started my Doctorate - I investigated this and did some interesting work in this very area (how moodle use may shape learning outcomes) I was performing both spearman rank and pearson product moment correlations on Moodle metadata against value added student score increases before and after the course.
For my Doctorate I will be using mixed methods using such qualitative and also quantitive narrative analysis to try to triangulate towards effective pedagogies in blended and distance learning.
Sounds like we should talk?
Do send me a message either here or via my website here:
Either way if you dont hear back from me when you make contact I probably havent received your message
I am interested in your research interest and your inquiry about the use of Moodle in previous research work. I f this will help you, there are a number of scholarly work available in institutional data bases on studies done that used Moodle as technology applications to predict user acceptance of the technology. Yu may want to explore those data bases.
As in my case I am doing my PHD and my interest is to use Moodle as a technology that my participants can learn following which to complete a questionnaire that predicts their intention to use a future Moodle application. I am looking to see how I can get permission and tutorial that can facilitate me as a researcher to provide instruction to the participants prior to such survey. My study is a quantitative study that uses correlational design. I am using the technology acceptance model (TAM) for such exploration. Please advise or provide men any insight you may have.