Joksimović, S., Manataki, A., Gašević, D., Dawson, S., Kovanović, V., & de Kereki, I. F.
Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Learning Analytics and Knowledge (LAK16), April 25-29, 2016, Edinburgh, UK, Pages 314-323, ACM, New York, NY, USA.
Publication year: 2016


As the field of learning analytics continues to mature, there is a corresponding evolution and sophistication of the associated analytical methods and techniques. In this regard social network analysis (SNA) has emerged as one of the cornerstones of learning analytics methodologies. However, despite the noted importance of social networks for facilitating the learning process, it remains unclear how and to what extent such network measures are associated with specific learning outcomes. Motivated by Simmel’s theory of social interactions and building on the argument that social centrality does not always imply benefits, this study aimed to further contribute to the understanding of the association between students’ social centrality and their academic performance. The study reveals that learning analytics research drawing on SNA should incorporate both – descriptive and statistical methods to provide a more comprehensive and holistic understanding of a students’ network position. In so doing researchers can undertake more nuanced and contextually salient inferences about learning in network settings. Specifically, we show how differences in the factors framing students’ interactions within two instances of a MOOC affect the association between the three social network centrality measures (i.e., degree, closeness, and betweenness) and the final course outcome.