Do Optional Activities Matter in Virtual Learning Environments?

  • José A. Ruipérez-Valiente
  • Pedro J. Muñoz-Merino
  • Carlos Delgado Kloos
  • Katja Niemann
  • Maren Scheffel
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 8719)


Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs) provide studentts with activities to improve their learning (e.g., reading texts, watching videos or solving exercises). But VLEs usually also provide optional activities (e.g., changing an avatar profile or setting goals). Some of these have a connection with the learning process, but are not directly devoted to learning concepts (e.g., setting goals). Few works have dealt with the use of optional activities and the relationships between these activities and other metrics in VLEs. This paper analyzes the use of optional activities at different levels in a specific case study with 291 students from three courses (physics, chemistry and mathematics) using the Khan Academy platform. The level of use of the different types of optional activities is analyzed and compared to that of learning activities. In addition, the relationship between the usage of optional activities and different student behaviors and learning metrics is presented.


optional activities Khan Academy learning analytics MOOCs 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • José A. Ruipérez-Valiente
    • 1
    • 2
  • Pedro J. Muñoz-Merino
    • 1
  • Carlos Delgado Kloos
    • 1
  • Katja Niemann
    • 3
  • Maren Scheffel
    • 4
  1. 1.Universidad Carlos III de MadridLeganés, MadridSpain
  2. 2.IMDEA Networks InstituteLeganés, MadridSpain
  3. 3.Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology (FIT)Sankt AugustinGermany
  4. 4.Open Universiteit NederlandAT HeerlenThe Netherlands

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