The Dynamical Analysis of Log Data Within Educational Games

  • Erica L. SnowEmail author
  • Laura K. Allen
  • Danielle S. McNamara
Part of the Advances in Game-Based Learning book series (AGBL)


Games and game-based environments frequently provide users multiple trajectories and paths. Thus, users often have to make decisions about how to interact and behave during the learning task. These decisions are often captured through the use of log data, which can provide a wealth of information concerning students’ choices, agency, and performance while engaged within a game-based system. However, to analyze these changing data sets, researchers need to use methodologies that focus on quantifying fine-grained patterns as they emerge across time. In this chapter, we will consider how dynamical analysis techniques offer researchers a unique means of visualizing and characterizing nuanced decision and behavior patterns that emerge from students’ log data within game-based environments. Specifically, we focus on how three distinct types of dynamical methodologies, Random Walks, Entropy analysis, and Hurst exponents, have been used within the game-based system iSTART-2 as a form of stealth assessment. These dynamical techniques provide researchers a means of unobtrusively assessing how students behave and learn within game-based environments.


Dynamics Stealth assessments Data visualization Game-based environments 



This research was supported in part by the Institute for Educational Sciences (IES R305G020018-02; R305G040046, R305A080589) and National Science Foundation (NSF REC0241144; IIS-0735682). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the IES or NSF. We would like to thank all of the members of the SoletLab for their assistance with data collection.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erica L. Snow
    • 1
    Email author
  • Laura K. Allen
    • 1
  • Danielle S. McNamara
    • 1
  1. 1.Arizona State UniversityTempeUSA

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