PPIG 2000 - 12th Annual Workshop
Tools for Observing Study Behaviour
P.G.Thomas, C.B. Paine
Abstract: This paper describes some of the research into student learning behaviour being undertaken within the AESOP project. This project analyses data gathered by our electronic observatory, a non-intrusive mechanism for recording student actions as they undertake a series of pre-defined learning tasks.
We have recorded the behaviour of a number of students on our award winning introductory computing course M206, Computing: An object oriented approach as they interact with the the LearningWorks system for learning Smalltalk [Woodman et al, 1999].
In this paper we describe the overall design and use of the observatory and discuss some of the tools that have been developed to analyse the recordings. We present some conclusions based on a pilot study undertaken in 1999. Whilst we have observed a variety of behaviours, many of them are unsurprising. However, collectively they provide a useful picture of how students learn at a distance which is often at variance with the pre-conceptions of course designers and suggests how courses for the future in distance education should be structured.