Learning Group Composition and Re-composition in Large-scale Online Learning Contexts [article]

Zhilin Zheng, Humboldt-Universität Zu Berlin, Humboldt-Universität Zu Berlin
2017
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
more » ... 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.
doi:10.18452/18412 fatcat:dpliq6jjv5hvddwn4bags4tkrq