This paper reports the findings of a comparative analysis of online learner behavioral interactions, time-on-task, attendance, and performance at different points throughout a semester (beginning, during, and end) based on two online courses: one course offering authentic discussion-based learning activities and the other course offering authentic design/development-based learning activities. Web log data were collected to determine the number of learner behavioral interactions with the Moodle learning management system (LMS), the number of behavioral interactions with peers, the time-on-task for weekly tasks, and the recorded attendance. Student performance on weekly tasks was also collected from the course data. Behavioral interactions with the Moodle LMS included resource viewing activities and uploading/downloading file activities. Behavioral interactions with peers included discussion postings, discussion responses, and discussion viewing activities. A series of Mann-Whitney tests were conducted to compare the two types of behavioral interactions between the two courses. Additionally, each student's behavioral interactions were visually presented to show the pattern of their interactions. The results indicated that, at the beginning of the semester, students who were involved in authentic design/development-based learning activities showed a significantly higher number of behavioral interactions with the Moodle LMS than did students involved in authentic discussion-based learning activities. However, in the middle of the semester, students engaged in authentic discussion-based learning activities showed a significantly higher number of behavioral interactions with peers than did students involved in authentic design/development-based learning activities. Additionally, students who were given authentic design/development-based learning activities received higher performance scores both during the semester and at the end of the semester and they showed overall higher performance scores than students who were given authentic discussion-based learning activities. No differences were found between the two groups with respect to time-on-task or attendance.
- authentic learning task,
- behavioral experience,
- online learning,
- Web log data,
Download the article in PDF to read it.