DATA ANALYTICS AND PERSUASIVE TECHNOLOGY TO PROMOTE STUDENTS’ ENGAGEMENT AND LEARNING
The use of interactive systems and internet technology nowadays enhance the process of learning as they allow educational resources to be effectively distributed and delivered to students. This gives students the opportunity to learn at their own pace and convenience. Hence, universities employ these computing technologies to aid in teaching and learning in order to meet the needs of diverse learners. Thus, students could engage in learning activities at any time and even outside the four walls of universities. Despite the usefulness of these systems, students find it hard to engage for a long time with these learning resources. They are distracted by so many activities such as chatting, playing games, listening to music, watching movies, etc. As a result, a wide gap exists in academic performance between successful students and unsuccessful one (those that drop out of universities). Therefore, there is a need for research on how to increase students’ motivation to learn. The level of motivation of students to learn and progress in their education determine the length of time they spend on learning-related activities. This research investigated the use of persuasive technology in encouraging students to spend quality time in their learning resources. Persuasive technology describes computer applications which change users’ behaviour or opinion without using coercion or deception. Specifically, this research examined the effect of three social influence strategies of persuasive technology (social comparison, social learning, and competition) on students’ engagement in their learning activities. Socially-oriented strategies recognize the fact that humans are socially-driven and thus, our feeling, behaviour or opinion is affected by that of others (social influence). The strategies were operationalized in a persuasive system as three versions of visualization using students’ assessment grades. The persuasive system was applied to a real university course-based setting to determine its effect on students’ engagement in their learning activities. Quantitative and qualitative approaches were used in determining the effectiveness of the persuasive system versions implementing the three strategies in motivating the students to engage actively in learning activities. The results of this research show that the three socially-oriented strategies of persuasive technology employed can be used in educational software to influence students to achieve a positive goal in their learning. Precisely, the persuasive system attracted and motivated students to spend more time in their learning activities.
Persuasive technology, Social Influence, Social Comparison, Social Learning, Competition, Students' Engagement, Education, Learning.
Master of Science (M.Sc.)