Intergroup and interpersonal forum positioning in shared-thread and post-reply networks

Oleksandra Poquet, Jelena Jovanovic

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Network analysis has become a major approach for analysing social learning, used to capture learner positioning in online forum networks. LA research investigated the association between positioning in forum networks with academic performance and discourse quality, the latter two serving as proxies for learning. However, the research findings have been inconsistent, in part due to the discrepancies in the adopted approaches to network construction. Yet, it is still unclear how online forum networks should be modelled to assure that the learners' network positioning is properly captured. To address this gap, the current study explored if some existing approaches to network construction may complement each other and thus offer richer insights. In particular, we hypothesised that the postreply learner network could represent interpersonal positioning, whereas the network based on co-participation in discussion threads could encapsulate intergroup positioning. The study used learner social interaction data from a large edX MOOC forum to examine the relationship between these two kinds of network positioning. The results suggest that intergroup and interpersonal positioning may capture different aspects of social learning, potentially related to different learning outcomes. We find that although interpersonal and intergroup positioning indicators covary, these measures are not congruent for some 37% of forum posters. Network coevolution analysis also reveals an interdependent relationship between the intergroup and interpersonal centrality in a forum network. Co-occurrence of learners in a discussion thread prior to direct exchanges is predictive of a direct post-reply interaction at a later stage of the course, and vice-versa, suggesting that intergroup positioning is a precursor of direct communication. The study contributes to the discussion around the definition of learner forum positioning in learning analytics, and validated approaches towards measuring it.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLAK 2020 Conference Proceedings - Celebrating 10 years of LAK
Subtitle of host publicationShaping the Future of the Field - 10th International Conference on Learning Analytics and Knowledge
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781450377126
StatePublished - 23 Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes
Event10th International Conference on Learning Analytics and Knowledge: Shaping the Future of the Field, LAK 2020 - Frankfurt, Germany
Duration: 23 Mar 202027 Mar 2020

Publication series

NameACM International Conference Proceeding Series


Conference10th International Conference on Learning Analytics and Knowledge: Shaping the Future of the Field, LAK 2020


  • Centrality
  • Collective learning
  • Learner networks
  • Positioning


Dive into the research topics of 'Intergroup and interpersonal forum positioning in shared-thread and post-reply networks'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this