In her post, Supporting Social Learning Through Page Design, on HT2Labs’ blog, Janet Laane-Effron talks about analysis she and her colleagues did on two of HT2Labs’ MOOCs.
The question is:
How can page design best support social learning?
Janet and her colleagues placed the comments section in one of their MOOCs below the content it was related to. In another, the placed the comments section next to the content.
The two MOOCs had statistically the same number of total comments once moderators and other HT2Labs folks were removed from the data. However, when they looked at whether the comments were original comments or replies to comments, the MOOC with the comments section next to the content came out as the clear winner for interaction. (The assumption here was that replies to a comment reflected interaction between participants.)
While Janet states in her post that this finding is not conclusive and there are other issues around UI and general layout for responsive design, it definitely suggests that there is more to consider on this question of the positioning of the comments section in relationship.
The xAPI win:
The only reason Janet and her colleagues were able to do this analysis was the MOOCs were created in Curatr, which creates xAPI statements. In the xAPI standard for comments, original comments and replies to those comments generate statements with different verbs which can be sorted for. In addition, the MOOC facilitators and other HT2Lab admins can be removed easily by sorting on the actors and the roles they have in the course.
Without xAPI, none of this data would have been created. Sure, you could manually go in and created a data set my viewing each comment section and notating the comments in a spreadsheet. But that would take far to long.
With xAPI, it would be very simple to expand this study to 10 or 100 MOOCs – if they are all set up in authoring systems that comply to xAPI.
Usage data on our learning designs can be at our fingertips with xAPI.