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Developments in Data Science and Artificial Intelligence in Learning Technology and CCI Research

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This book is focusing on experimental studies in learning technology and CCI research. During the last years, the areas of data science and AI have influenced different aspects of human-factors IT-related research in general and learning technology and CCI research in particular. Therefore, although this book does not provide a deep discussion on how data science and AI have influenced contemporary learning technology and CCI research; in this chapter, we provide a brief presentation of the developments in data science and AI, and the role of those developments in learning technology and CCI research.
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89
Chapter 9
Developments inData Science
andArticial Intelligencein Learning
Technology andCCI Research
Abstract This book is focusing on experimental studies in learning technology and
CCI research. During the last years, the areas of data science and AI have inuenced
different aspects of human-factors IT-related research in general and learning tech-
nology and CCI research in particular. Therefore, although this book does not pro-
vide a deep discussion on how data science and AI have inuenced contemporary
learning technology and CCI research; in this chapter, we provide a brief presenta-
tion of the developments in data science and AI, and the role of those developments
in learning technology and CCI research.
Keywords Data science · Articial intelligence · Learning technology ·
Multimodal data
9.1 Data Science
Most CCI and learning technology studies are conducted on small groups of partici-
pants, often from a homogeneous context (e.g., the same school or a similar back-
ground). With the emergence of online education and learning-at-scale technologies
(e.g., MOOCs, LMSs, ITSs, open courseware, and community tutorial systems such
as Stack Overow), millions of participants in different parts of the world and from
different backgrounds can engage with CCI and learning technology systems. New
forms of data require new methodologies. As we have described in this book, a clas-
sical approach in a CCI and learning technology study would involve some dozens
of end-users participating in each condition and would apply hypothesis-testing
analysis (e.g., t-tests or ANOVAs). Since the datasets (and the respective data points)
would be small, only large effects would be detectable, and so signicance would
imply relevance. On the other hand, if the number of students is large, we could
easily end up rejecting the null hypothesis and detecting an effect that is irrelevant
in practice (Kidzinski etal., 2016).
As mentioned above, in CCI and learning technology research, typical data anal-
ysis techniques (e.g., analysis of variance, correlations, and regressions) are usually
© The Authors 2022
M. Giannakos, Experimental Studies in Learning Technology and Child–
Computer Interaction, SpringerBriefs in Educational Communications and
Technology, https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-14350-2_9
90
employed to explore the RQs and test the hypotheses, where the formulation of the
RQs and the hypothesis formation are guided by previous work and/or theories.
However, when dealing with massive amounts of data (e.g., from MOOCs or LMSs)
or rich multimodal data (e.g., video, eye-tracking, or other sensor data), different
statistical analysis techniques need to be employed (including predictions and clas-
sications). Given that learning/educational scientists and designers are often unfa-
miliar with contemporary modeling techniques, this has prompted an increasing
number of computer scientists, statisticians, and data scientists to engage with CCI
and learning technology research. In many cases, because of the nature of the prob-
lem and the data (e.g., online learning), contextual knowledge (e.g., how someone
is using YouTube or Stack Overow in their learning) is either not relevant or cannot
be captured (e.g., in a MOOC). In such cases, we see research initiatives in CCI and
learning technology that seek to address problems in the absence of contextual
knowledge.
This type of decontextualized and large-scale experimentation in CCI and learn-
ing technology research lies outside the scope of this book. However, we would like
to emphasize that exploratory data analysis techniques (Tukey, 1977) can be useful,
particularly for nding an adequate data transformation and for outlier detections.
Explorations of this type can bring new insights and hypotheses and eventually
close the cycle (see Fig.9.1). For those interested in how to employ advanced data
science and machine learning (ML) techniques in the context of learning, we pro-
vide elsewhere a mini-tutorial on methodologies for forming and testing hypotheses
in large educational datasets (Kidzinski etal., 2016). We also present practical guid-
ance for building data-driven predictive models with state-of-the-art ML methods,
using the R and CARET packages because of their simplicity and the ease of access
to the most recent ML methods.
Fig. 9.1 Data-driven CCI and learning technology in at-scale contexts. (Adapted from Kidzinski
etal., 2016)
9 Developments in Data Science and Articial Intelligence in Learning Technology
91
9.2 Articial Intelligence
Articial intelligence (AI) in CCI and learning technology research is traditionally
represented by AI in education (AIED), intelligent user interfaces (IUI), and the ITS
communities, and involves a wide spectrum of technologies and approaches. In
recent years, we have seen AI technologies and approaches employed in almost
every CCI and learning technology community. Since the 1980s, researchers have
been interested in the association between learning and AI, although initially this
mainly meant a focus on knowledge representation, reasoning, and learning (Self,
2015, p. 5). Russell and Norvig (2021) have described AI as a technology that
includes problem solving, representation, reasoning on the basis of certain/uncer-
tain knowledge, ML, and communicating, perceiving, and acting techniques for
designing and developing intelligent agents. More recently, we have seen various
developments in sensing technologies, analytics, and visualization, as well as cogni-
tive technologies and architectures that have boosted the use of AI to support teach-
ing and learning. The International Journal of Articial Intelligence in Education
(IJAIED1) describes the focus of the AIED eld as the development and design of
AI-powered computer-based learning systems, including agent-based learning envi-
ronments, Bayesian and other statistical methods, cognitive tools for learning, intel-
ligent agents on the Internet, natural language interfaces for instructional systems,
and real-world applications of AIED systems.
The topic of AI and advanced data science techniques in education is not central
to this book; nevertheless given recent advances in data science, this book would not
be complete if we did not introduce the reader to these advancements. Drawing
from a recent literature review on AIED (Chen etal., 2020), we see that contempo-
rary AI learning systems incorporate various techniques and technologies, such as
recommendations, knowledge understanding and ML, data mining, and knowledge
models (Avella et al., 2016). There are three main components of an AI-powered
learning system: the educational data collections from learners’ and teachers’ activ-
ities, the techniques or modeling employed (e.g., knowledge inference or ML), and
the system’s intelligence as expressed through different intelligent technologies
(Kim etal., 2018). Figure9.2 shows how these three components work together to
enable AI functionalities in the learning system.
As Fig.9.2 makes clear, the quality of data collection is of paramount importance
if an AI learning system is to operate efciently. In the context of CCI, we see chil-
dren’s toys evolving through advances in embedded electronics, digital capabilities,
and wireless connectivity that combine different capabilities such as networking,
processing, and intelligent reasoning. As we see from a recent IJCCI special issue
in AI and CCI,2 the increasing use of such interactive objects in CCI and the rise of
1 International Journal of Articial Intelligence in Education: https://www.springer.com/
journal/40593
2 https://www.sciencedirect.com/journal/international-journal-of-child-computer-interaction/
special-issue/103G37QK1KT
9.2 Articial Intelligence
92
Fig. 9.2 Representation of AI-powered educational systems, which consists of the data collec-
tions layer (e.g., educational and interaction data), the modeling techniques which developing
different intelligence based on the data collections, and the system’s intelligence part that provides
the technologies needs to provide the intelligence as a service to the user
AI techniques through data-driven methods reinforce intelligent features and adap-
tivity, but they also bring many signicant privacy issues and ethical concerns.
In summary, AI technologies can amplify different areas of human abilities,
including physical, memory, perception, cognition and learning (Shneiderman,
2020). Examples of technologies that leverage AI to amplify human abilities are,
information representation/ awareness/ reection technologies (e.g., dashboards),
in-situ human-computer interaction technologies (e.g., augmented reality and ubiq-
uitous displays), and technologies with implicit and adaptive control (e.g., gaze
tracking). On the contrary of autonomous AI systems that focus on replacing human
decision making, those AI technologies employ the notion of “intelligence augmen-
tation” (IA) that attempts to support human abilities (e.g., decision making, cogni-
tion) rather than replacing them. Contemporary learning systems employ different
information representation and IA techniques via powerful interfaces and commu-
nication modalities (e.g., dashboards, adaptive navigation). Those interfaces and
communication modalities combine various log data and provide explicit, easy-to-
understand, and concise ways of presenting valuable information to support human
abilities.
9.3 Sensor Data andMultimodal Learning Analytics
The use of sensors to support research on human-factors IT-related elds (especially
in the context of learning) is not new. To some extent, the use of sensors (e.g., via
cameras) has been central to LS research for several decades, as the popularity of
qualitative video analysis indicates. However, in recent years, a proliferation of
wearable and remote devices has made sensing widely available and affordable in
the context of education, and a growing number of related studies have been pub-
lished (Sharma & Giannakos, 2020). In addition, new methods, models, and algo-
rithms have been developed (Blikstein & Worsley, 2016) that enable the continuous,
unobtrusive, automated, and useful application of sensors during learning. Thanks
to these devices and techniques, it is possible to monitor indices that are argued to
9 Developments in Data Science and Articial Intelligence in Learning Technology
93
be signicant for learning but have often been ignored because of the difculties of
measuring and interpreting them dynamically (Giannakos etal., 2020). Despite the
challenges of using sensor data, previous studies have advocated the use of sensor
technologies to capture complex interactions exchanged between learners/children
and the interactive systems they engage with (Giannakos etal., 2022). Work on
quantied-self movement has shown potential in using sensor data to support human
decision making (e.g., in relation to diet, tness, and lifestyle), self-monitoring,
self-awareness, and self-reection (Qi etal., 2018), as well as potential in learning
technology (Giannakos etal., 2020) and CCI research (Lee-Cultura etal., 2020).
Research on collecting, pre-processing (e.g., data “cleaning”), synchronizing,
and analyzing sensor data streams can be found in neighboring elds such as HCI
and ubiquitous computing, with applications dating from the 1980s onward (Weiser
etal., 1999). Sensor data has also been at the center of several learning technology
and HCI communities, such as ITS (D’Mello etal., 2010), educational data mining
(EDM) (Romero etal., 2010), and user modeling, adaptation, and personalization
(UMAP) (Desmarais & Baker, 2012). The typical steps when using sensors include
data collection, pre-processing, engineering, mining/analysis, validation, contextu-
alization, and making sense of the results. These steps are somewhat different
depending on whether there is a data-driven or a theory/hypothesis-driven approach,
on the research design employed (e.g., qualitative or quantitative), and on the epis-
temic stance of the researchers (e.g., positivist or post-positivist) (Giannakos etal.,
2022). In the last decade, there has been much discussion around the use of sensors
in learning technology and CCI (Giannakos etal., 2022; Markopoulos etal., 2021),
with different communities using different nomenclature to describe various facets
of sensor data (e.g., sensor data in education, sensing, physiological analytics, ubiq-
uitous data in education, and multimodal learning analytics).
In a recent chapter focusing on the use of sensor data in education (Giannakos
etal., 2022), the authors described the advantages and qualities of sensor data in
terms of three pillars. First and foremost, whereas computer logs enable us to cap-
ture learners’ actions in binary fashion, sensors go further in terms of richness,
allowing us to capture information about learners regardless of whether they have
completed an action (e.g., while watching a video but not interacting with it, or
interacting with a nondigital object). Second, sensors provide temporality by being
sensitive to temporal changes and giving us direct access to indices that are relevant
to cognitive and affective processes. Third, instead of reductive representation of the
user and learner experience, sensor data provide granularity, allowing us to capture
very low-level insights and focus our analysis on different aspects. Those qualities
of sensor data, combined with advances in data science and AI, can provide power-
ful learning capabilities. For instance, they can provide access to indices relevant to
cognitive and affective processes (see Fig.9.3, left), or they can incorporate sensor
data into a learning system’s functionality (e.g., embodiment) or intelligence (e.g.,
affective support) via appropriate technological architectures (see Fig.9.3, right).
To summarize this chapter, sensor data have several qualities that support inter-
action with the technology. Many of those qualities are benecial for learning sys-
tems and can help us to improve the effectiveness of those systems. At the same
9.3 Sensor Data andMultimodal Learning Analytics
94
Fig. 9.3 Meaningful sensor data from a child interacting with a learning technology. (From
Giannakos etal., 2021; with permission by IEEE). Left: The vertical lines show the child’s response
correctness (green for correct, red for incorrect), the solid red curves show the child’s indices, and
the dashed-green curves show the average for the whole class. Right: The logic of a system that
leverages sensor data
time, sensor data introduce challenges that need to be tackled to allow contempo-
rary learning technology research and practice to realize the potential benets.
Contemporary research on sensor data and advanced computational analyses has
introduced the term “multimodal learning analytics” (MMLA) and led to the forma-
tion of the a special interest group in the context of the Society for Learning
Analytics Research (SoLAR).3
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