Learning Group Composition and Re-composition in Large-scale Online Learning Contexts
Small learning group composition addresses the problem of seeking such matching among a population of students that it could bring each group optimal benefits. Recently, many studies have been conducted to address this small group composition problem. Nevertheless, the focus of such a body of research has rarely been cast to large-scale contexts. Due to the recent come of MOOCs, the topic of group composition needs to be accordingly extended with new investigations in such large learning
... rge learning contexts. Different from classroom settings, the reported high drop-out rate of MOOCs could result in group's incompletion in size and thus might compel many students to compose new groups. Thus, in addition to group composition, group re-composition as a new topic needs to be studied in current large-scale learning contexts as well. In this thesis, the research is structured in two stages. The first stage is group composition. In this part, I proposed a discrete-PSO algorithm to compose small learning groups and compared the existing group composition algorithms from the perspectives of time cost and grouping quality. To implement group composition in MOOCs, a group composition experiment was conducted in a MOOC. The main results indicate that group composition can reduce drop-out rate, yet has a very weak association with students' learning performance. The second stage is to cope with group re-composition. This thesis suggests a data-driven approach that makes full use of group interaction data and accounts for group dynamics. Through evaluation in a simulation experiment, it shows its advantages of bringing us more cohesive learning groups and reducing the drop-out rate compared to a random condition. Apart from these, a group learning tool that fulfills the goals of the proposed group re-composition approach has been developed and is made ready for practice.