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Student Off-Task Behavior in Computer-Based Learning in the Philippines: Comparison to Prior Research in the USA


by Ma. Mercedes T. Rodrigo, Ryan S. J. D. Baker & Lisa Rossi — 2013

Background: Off-task behavior can be defined as any behavior that does not involve the learning task or material, or where learning from the material is not the primary goal. One suggested path for understanding how to address off-task behavior is to study classrooms where off-task behavior is less common, particularly in Asia, in order to understand why off-task behavior is less common in those settings.

Purpose: In this paper, we discuss three studies that examine the differences in the off-task behavior of students using intelligent tutoring software in the Philippines and the United States. We investigate whether Filipino students using intelligent tutors exhibit significantly less off-task behavior than their American counterparts, in line with the previously observed patterns of off-task behavior in traditional classrooms in East Asia and Southeast Asia. Using identical intelligent tutors in both countries allows us to control for confounds due to differences in curricula.

Research Design: In the first study, approximately matched cohorts of students in classrooms in the United States and Philippines used the same educational software (the Scatterplot Tutor) for an equal amount of time and according to an identical research protocol. In the second and third studies, students in the Philippines used different intelligent tutoring systems for a fixed amount of time.

Data Collection and Analysis: As students used the software, researchers used a quantitative field observation protocol to record their behaviors. From the quantitative field observations, we computed an approximate percentage of time that each student was off-task and then calculated the average time off-task for each group under study. An additional behavior, gaming the system (intentional misuse of educational software) was also coded.

Findings: In the first study, students in the United States were off-task, on average, seven times more than students in the Philippines. Interestingly, however, the proportion of gaming the system was higher in the Philippines than in the United States. In the second and third studies, the incidence of off-task behavior was comparable to the frequency of off-task behavior in the Philippines in the first study, and substantially lower than the frequency of off-task behavior in the United States in the first study or in prior research on off-task behavior in the United States.

Conclusions / Recommendations: The results of the first study suggest that the previously observed differences in off-task behavior between the United States and Asia cannot be attributed simply to differences in curricula. Understanding the relative roles of cultural factors and past experiences with adaptive educational technology in student off-task behavior is an important area of future work.



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 115 Number 10, 2013, p. 1-27
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 17140, Date Accessed: 12/18/2017 3:36:36 PM

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About the Author
  • Ma. Mercedes Rodrigo
    Ateneo de Manila University
    E-mail Author
    MA. MERCEDES T. RODRIGO is a Professor at the Department of Information Systems and Computer Science and the head of the Ateneo Laboratory for the Learning Sciences. She received her PhD in Computer Technology in Education from Nova Southeastern University in 2002, her MS in Applied Computer Science from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in 1992, and her BS in Computer Science (honorable mention) from the Ateneo de Manila University in 1988. From 2003-2008 was the Chair of the Department of Information Systems and Computer Science. In 2008, Dr. Rodrigo was a Fulbright Senior Research Fellow at the Pittsburgh Science of Learning Center. Dr. Rodrigo’s areas of interest are affective computing and artificial intelligence in Education. She has published in IEEE Transactions on Affective Computing, the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, and the Journal of Computer Science Education.
  • Ryan Baker
    Teachers College
    E-mail Author
    RYAN S. J. D. BAKER is Visiting Associate Professor in the Department of Human Development and the Department of Mathematics, Science, and Technology at Teachers College. He received his PhD in Human-Computer Interaction from Carnegie Mellon University in 2005, and his ScB in Computer Science (senior prize) from Brown University in 2000. Prior to joining Columbia University, he was Assistant Professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Technical Director of the Pittsburgh Science of Learning Center DataShop, and Research Fellow at the University of Nottingham. He is currently the President of the International Educational Data Mining Society and Associate Editor of the Journal of Educational Data Mining. His work on educational data mining has received awards at five different conferences, and over 1,500 citations.
  • Lisa Rossi
    Worcester Polytechnic Institute
    E-mail Author
    LISA ROSSI is Research Analyst in the Department of Social Science and Policy Studies at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. She received her B.S. in Psychological Science from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 2011.
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