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Do optional activities matter in virtual learning environments?

: Ruipérez-Valiente, J.A.; Muñoz-Merino, P.J.; Kloos, C.D.; Niemann, K.; Scheffel, M.


Rensing, Christoph (Ed.):
Open learning and teaching in educational communities. 9th European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning, EC-TEL 2014 : Graz, Austria, September 16-19, 2014; Proceedings
Cham: Springer International Publishing, 2014 (Lecture Notes in Computer Science 8719)
ISBN: 978-3-319-11199-5 (Print)
ISBN: 978-3-319-11200-8 (Online)
European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning (EC-TEL) <9, 2014, Graz>
International Conference on Knowledge Technologies and Data-Driven Business (i-KNOW) <14, 2014, Graz>
Fraunhofer FIT ()

Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) provide studentts with activities to improve their learning (e.g., reading texts, watching videos or solving exercises). But VLEs usually also provide optional activities (e.g., changing an avatar profile or setting goals). Some of these have a connection with the learning process, but are not directly devoted to learning concepts (e.g., setting goals). Few works have dealt with the use of optional activities and the relationships between these activities and other metrics in VLEs. This paper analyzes the use of optional activities at different levels in a specific case study with 291 students from three courses (physics, chemistry and mathematics) using the Khan Academy platform. The level of use of the different types of optional activities is analyzed and compared to that of learning activities. In addition, the relationship between the usage of optional activities and different student behaviors and learning metrics is presented.