The OU centre for STEM pedagogy
This project focuses on the potential for digital educational tools to provide more inclusive learning. More precisely, we will study to what extent two types of interrelated learning analytics models could be exploited to promote inclusion. The first provides engaging educational recommendations of activities, while the second measures and predicts students’ mental effort based on their behavioural data.
The underlying idea is that, although recommendations of learning activities can be beneficial to students in general, they could be even more beneficial to some categories of students. These could be categories of students who have less sources of motivation at home, conflicting peer pressure, etc. Some categories of students may also have a higher tendency to exert effort on some activities that are not the most relevant.
To reach our goals, we are currently developing a web platform that will be deployed on the OU servers that will contain two functionalities: the first will allow students to track their cognitive effort and the second will provide recommendations of learning activities. This will allow us to collect subjective effort ratings to train our effort models and evaluate the relevance and effects of the recommendations.
The current study will be built upon a pre-study we plan to undertake in April/May 2023 with a panel of 20 students of the current presentation of the TT284 module (web technologies). The pre-study will only focus on the acceptability, usability and utility of the platform. Based on its outcomes, we will undertake the present study in October 2023 with a larger panel of participants of the next presentation of TT284.
We thus expect to acquire a richer understanding of how different categories of students exert effort while learning at the OU, and of the extent to which recommendations can be useful depending on the type of students.