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Digital Learning Environments in Higher Education: A Literature Review of the Role of Individual vs. Social Settings for Measuring Learning Outcomes

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Knowledge Construction Lab, Leibniz-Institut für Wissensmedien, Schleichstraße 6, D-72076 Tübingen, Germany
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Department of Psychology, Eberhard Karls University, Schleichstraße 4, D-72076 Tübingen, Germany
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Educ. Sci. 2020, 10(3), 78; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci10030078
Received: 27 February 2020 / Revised: 8 March 2020 / Accepted: 14 March 2020 / Published: 18 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Learning Environments)
Research on digital learning environments has traditionally applied either an individual perspective or a social perspective to learning. Based on a literature review, we examined to what extent individual or social perspectives determined the learning outcome variables that researchers have used as measurements in existing studies. We analyzed prototypical approaches to operationalize learning settings (individual vs. social) published in peer-reviewed journals and identified their relation to several measures of learning outcomes. We rated n = 356 articles and included n = 246 articles in the final analysis. A total of 159 studies (64.6%) used an individual learning setting, while 87 studies (35.4%) used a social learning setting. As learning outcome measures, we observed self-reports, observable behavior, learning skills, elaboration, personal initiatives, digital activity, and social interactions. The two types of learning settings differed regarding the measurement of elaboration and social interactions. We discuss of the implications of our findings for future research and conclude that researchers should investigate further measures of learning outcomes in digital learning settings. View Full-Text
Keywords: digital learning environments; higher education; evaluation methodologies; learning outcomes; media in education; collaborative learning digital learning environments; higher education; evaluation methodologies; learning outcomes; media in education; collaborative learning
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Kümmel, E.; Moskaliuk, J.; Cress, U.; Kimmerle, J. Digital Learning Environments in Higher Education: A Literature Review of the Role of Individual vs. Social Settings for Measuring Learning Outcomes. Educ. Sci. 2020, 10, 78.

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