Which Algorithms Suit Which Learning Environments? A Comparative Study of Recommender Systems in TEL

Conference paper

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-45153-4_10

Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9891)
Cite this paper as:
Kopeinik S., Kowald D., Lex E. (2016) Which Algorithms Suit Which Learning Environments? A Comparative Study of Recommender Systems in TEL. In: Verbert K., Sharples M., Klobučar T. (eds) Adaptive and Adaptable Learning. EC-TEL 2016. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 9891. Springer, Cham


In recent years, a number of recommendation algorithms have been proposed to help learners find suitable learning resources on-line. Next to user-centered evaluations, offline-datasets have been used to investigate new recommendation algorithms or variations of collaborative filtering approaches. However, a more extensive study comparing a variety of recommendation strategies on multiple TEL datasets is missing. In this work, we contribute with a data-driven study of recommendation strategies in TEL to shed light on their suitability for TEL datasets. To that end, we evaluate six state-of-the-art recommendation algorithms for tag and resource recommendations on six empirical datasets: a dataset from European Schoolnets TravelWell, a dataset from the MACE portal, which features access to meta-data-enriched learning resources from the field of architecture, two datasets from the social bookmarking systems BibSonomy and CiteULike, a MOOC dataset from the KDD challenge 2015, and Aposdle, a small-scale workplace learning dataset. We highlight strengths and shortcomings of the discussed recommendation algorithms and their applicability to the TEL datasets. Our results demonstrate that the performance of the algorithms strongly depends on the properties and characteristics of the particular dataset. However, we also find a strong correlation between the average number of users per resource and the algorithm performance. A tag recommender evaluation experiment reveals that a hybrid combination of a cognitive-inspired and a popularity-based approach consistently performs best on all TEL datasets we utilized in our study.


Offline study Tag recommendation Resource recommendation Recommender systems ACT-R SUSTAIN Technology enhanced learning TEL 

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Simone Kopeinik
    • 1
  • Dominik Kowald
    • 1
  • Elisabeth Lex
    • 1
  1. 1.Knowledge Technologies InstituteGraz University of TechnologyGrazAustria

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