story by Claire Miller
Students taking virtual courses are often asked to participate in online discussion forums – spaces where they can exchange their ideas and develop new knowledge and skills in a particular subject area.
To better understand students’ interactions in these online discussion settings, Assistant Professor Min Kyu Kim and Department of Learning Sciences alumnus Tuba Ketenci developed and tested a learner profiling model that features three different kinds of learners: Full, inbound and peripheral participants.
Full participants moderate conversations and interact frequently with their peers via online messaging, while inbound participants work toward becoming more active by asking questions and providing thoughtful feedback. Peripheral participants, who are typically new to online collaborative learning, are more likely to take on an observational role and selectively participate in online conversations.
Kim and Ketenci took these three learner types and conducted a study that applied them to a 12-week, graduate-level online course.
The findings, which were published in The Internet and Higher Education, show that full participants who moderated online discussions demonstrated higher cognitive, behavioral and emotional engagement than inbound and peripheral participants, and they also achieved higher scores than their counterparts.
This kind of research can help teachers better analyze their students’ participation and how their engagement in online discussions impacts their academic achievement.
“Given the pervasive use of online learning in education, stimulating and sustaining productive student interaction is crucial to helping students actively participate, interact with one another and achieve learning goals in online learning environments,” Kim said. “To foster effective learner collaboration, teachers need to track participation level of individual students and offer support to students with different needs.”
The Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) awarded Kim and Ketenci’s article the 2020 Research and Theory Outstanding Empirical Journal Article Award, marking the third time Kim has received this recognition from AECT.
“This time was more meaningful to me because I represented the department, college and Georgia State University to the learning technology research community,” he said. “I am delighted that this award also recognizes the co-author, Tuba Ketenci. She worked with me on the project while she was in the program.”
About the Researcher
Min Kyu Kim
Department of Learning Sciences
Assistant Professor Min Kyu Kim focuses his research on designing learning technologies to create equitable and productive learning opportunities. He believes most students can master learning goals if they are provided with appropriate adaptive support. In particular, his interests have arisen from the prevailing issue of “at-risk” youth who are often caught in low-income communities and experience lower academic performance. To address this, his program of research is to design and develop learning technologies that help teachers to adapt problem-centered pedagogies by informing them of individual students’ learning progress and recommending personalized feedback and instructional support. He focuses on modeling learning progressions and learner differences in the three domains: cognitive engagement, behavioral engagement and emotional engagement. Kim has more than eight years of experience as an e-learning consultant and trainer. His work experience employed technology in a variety of learning situations ranging from K-12 to adult learners in both online and face-to-face settings.
Read His Article
Kim, Min Kyu and Ketenci, Tuba (2019). “Learner Participation Profiles in an Asynchronous Online Collaboration Context.” The Internet and Higher Education, Vol. 41, Pages 62-76, ISSN 1096-7516. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.iheduc.2019.02.002.