A group decision approach to developing concept–effect models for diagnosing student learning problems in mathematics

Authors


  • Gwo-Jen Hwang is a chair professor in the Graduate Institute of Digital Learning and Education, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taiwan. His research interests are mobile and ubiquitous learning, digital game-based learning, computer-assisted testing and learning diagnosis, and artificial intelligence in education. Patcharin Panjaburee is a lecturer of Science and Technology Education in the Institute for Innovative Learning at Mahidol University, Thailand. Her main research interests are mathematics education, computer science education, and computer-assisted testing and learning diagnosis. Wannapong Triampo is an associate professor in the Department of Physics at Mahidol University, Thailand. He is a director of the Institute of Innovative Learning at Mahidol University. His main research interests are biophysical, computational and theoretical modeling of biological and environmental systems, mathematics education, and computer-assisted testing and learning diagnosis. Bo-Ying Shih is a graduate student in the Department of Information and Learning Technology, National University of Tainan, Taiwan. His research interests are computer-assisted testing and learning diagnosis, mathematics education and web-based learning.

Dr Gwo-Jen Hwang, Graduate Institute of Digital Learning and Education, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, 43, Sec.4, Keelung Road, Taipei 106, Taiwan. Email: gjhwang.academic@gmail.com

Abstract

Abstract

Diagnosing student learning barriers has been recognized as the most fundamental and important issue for improving the learning achievements of students. In the past decade, several learning diagnosis approaches have been proposed based on the concept–effect relationship (CER) model. However, past studies have shown that the effectiveness of this model heavily depends on the concept relationship knowledge provided by the domain experts (eg, experienced teachers or educators for a specified subject); ie, the performance of the developed learning diagnosis systems could be significantly affected by subjective opinions, ignorance or insufficient knowledge if those concept relationships are derived from a single domain expert. To cope with this problem, this study proposes a group decision approach for developing the CER model with the cooperation of multiple domain experts. Based on the proposed approach, a testing and diagnostic system has been implemented; moreover, an experiment has been conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of this new approach. The experimental results show that this approach is able to develop quality CER models, and hence the low-achievement students who received the generated learning suggestions had significantly better learning achievements than those who learned with the previous approach.

Practitioner notes

What is already known about this topic

  • • Diagnosing student learning barriers is a fundamental and important issue for improving the learning achievements of students.
  • • Several learning diagnosis approaches have been proposed based on the concept–effect relationship (CER) model.
  • • The effectiveness of the learning diagnosis model heavily depends on the concept relationship knowledge provided by the domain experts.

What this paper adds

  • • A group decision approach for developing the CER model with the cooperation of multiple domain experts is proposed.
  • • A testing and diagnostic system was implemented based on the proposed approach.
  • • An experiment was conducted to investigating whether the students guided by the proposed approach had better learning achievements than those guided by the original CER model approach.

Implications for practice and/or policy

  • • The experimental results show that the low-achievement students who received the learning suggestions generated by the new approach had significantly better learning achievements than those who learned with the previous approach.
  • • Further studies of developing more effective tools or leading in other group decision strategies to help domain experts cooperatively determine the prerequisite relationships are needed.

Ancillary