On 11 April, I presented a full paper at the learning analytics and knowledge conference, LAK13, in Leuven, Belgium.
The paper, ‘An Evaluation of Learning Analytics To Identify Exploratory Dialogue in Online Discussions‘ was co-authored by Zhongyu Wei of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Yulan He, now at Aston University, and Simon Buckingham Shum from The Open University.
Social learning analytics are concerned with the process of knowledge construction as learners build knowledge together in their social and cultural environments. One of the most important tools employed during this process is language. In this paper we take exploratory dialogue, a joint form of co-reasoning, to be an external indicator that learning is taking place. Using techniques developed within the field of computational linguistics, we build on previous work using cue phrases to identify exploratory dialogue within online discussion. Automatic detection of this type of dialogue is framed as a binary classification task that labels each contribution to an online discussion as exploratory or non-exploratory. We describe the development of a self-training framework that employs discourse features and topical features for classification by integrating both cue-phrase matching and k-nearest neighbour classification. Experiments with a corpus constructed from the archive of a two-day online conference show that our proposed framework outperforms other approaches. A classifier developed using the self-training framework is able to make useful distinctions between the learning dialogue taking place at different times within an online conference as well as between the contributions of individual participants.
Doug Clow liveblogged the presentation.
Photo from gr0uch0‘s excellent LAK13 conference set.