Using a Mixed-Methods Approach to Studying Individual and Group Learning (2017)

In the third year of my PhD program, I tried an exploratory study with a very mixed-methods approach. The Interactive Learning and Design Lab at UW-Madison collects many different types of data about implementations, such as student notebooks, essays, assessment scores, log data from e-textbook interactions, and video and audio data. Some of these data sources reflect learning at the individual level, while others reflect learning at the group level (and some reflect interactions between the individual and the group).

To analyze learning at multiple levels, I compared assessment scores, students’ written responses in their journals, log data from the e-textbook, and group discourse for three groups in the same classroom. For each group, I found that students demonstrated learning gains on the assessment and document shared ideas in their journals. Each group also increased their conceptual talk over time. Interestingly, each group investigated different science topics, but all demonstrated conceptual gains at the end of the unit. If groups can take responsibility to researching and disseminating content in their classroom (with support from their teacher), we may be able to design small group and whole class activities in different ways. However, we first need to investigate how the teacher supports sharing of group research in the class.

I presented a paper on this work at CSCL 2017.