Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile
Maldonado-Mahauad J., Pérez-Sanagustín M., Kizilcec R.F., Morales N. and Muñoz-Gama J. (2018)

Mining theory-based patterns from Big data: Identifying self-regulated learning strategies in Massive Open Online Courses

Revista : Computers in Human Behavior
Volumen : 80
Páginas : 179-196
Tipo de publicación : ISI Ir a publicación


Big data in education offers unprecedented opportunities to support learners and advance research in the learning sciences. Analysis of observed behaviour using computational methods can uncover patterns that reflect theoretically established processes, such as those involved in self-regulated learning (SRL). This research addresses the question of how to integrate this bottom-up approach of mining behavioural patterns with the traditional top-down approach of using validated self-reporting instruments. Using process mining, we extracted interaction sequences from fine-grained behavioural traces for 3458 learners across three Massive Open Online Courses. We identified six distinct interaction sequence patterns. We matched each interaction sequence pattern with one or more theory-based SRL strategies and identified three clusters of learners. First, Comprehensive Learners, who follow the sequential structure of the course materials, which sets them up for gaining a deeper understanding of the content. Second, Targeting Learners, who strategically engage with specific course content that will help them pass the assessments. Third, Sampling Learners, who exhibit more erratic and less goal-oriented behaviour, report lower SRL, and underperform relative to both Comprehensive and Targeting Learners. Challenges that arise in the process of extracting theory-based patterns from observed behaviour are discussed, including analytic issues and limitations of available trace data from learning platforms.