From massive open online courses (MOOC) to the smaller scale use of learning management systems, many students interact with online platforms that are meant to support learning. Investigations into the use of these systems have considered how well students learn when certain approaches are employed. However, we do not fully understand how course type or system design influence student actions and experiences, meaning prior findings cannot be properly interpreted and used because we do not understand how these factors influence those findings. Accordingly, we conducted a study to compare student experiences and behaviors across learning management systems and courses from a learning analytics perspective. Differences in student behaviors and experiences highlight how system design and the nature of the course interact: Students reported increased learning support when using a system that foregrounds student interaction through discussion forums, but this relationship did not hold across all course types. Similarly, students from the content-delivery focused system spent more time online while feeling less supported regardless of which type of course they were taking. This newly found evidence for the often-interrelated influence that the course and system have on student experiences and behaviors should therefore be considered when selecting a system to meet particular pedagogical goals.
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Part of this research was supported by the University of Pittsburgh through a joint project of the Learning Research and Development Center and the University Center for Teaching and Learning. The first author held Ontario Graduate Scholarships, A W. Garfield Weston Fellowship, and Walter C. Sumner Memorial Fellowships during data collection. During the analysis stage, this work received financial support from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.
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Demmans Epp, C., Phirangee, K., Hewitt, J. et al. Learning management system and course influences on student actions and learning experiences. Education Tech Research Dev 68, 3263–3297 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-020-09821-1
- Cooperative/collaborative learning
- Evaluation of CAL systems
- Human-computer interface
- Learning communities
- Post-secondary education