Chapter 8

Handbook of Learning Analytics
First Edition

Natural Language Processing
and Learning Analytics

Danielle S. McNamara, Laura K. Allen, Scott A. Crossley,
Mihai Dascalu, & Cecile A. Perret


Abstract

Language is of central importance to the field of education because it is a conduit for communicating and understanding information. Therefore, researchers in the field of learning analytics can benefit from methods developed to analyze language both accurately and efficiently. Natural language processing (NLP) techniques can provide such an avenue. NLP techniques are used to provide computational analyses of different aspects of language as they relate to particular tasks. In this chapter, the authors discuss multiple, available NLP tools that can be harnessed to understand discourse, as well as some applications of these tools for education. A primary focus of these tools is the automated interpretation of human language input in order to drive interactions between humans and computers, or human–computer interaction. Thus, the tools measure a variety of linguistic features important for understanding text, including coherence, syntactic complexity, lexical diversity, and semantic similarity. The authors conclude the chapter with a discussion of computer-based learning environments that have employed NLP tools (i.e., ITS, MOOCs, and CSCL) and how such tools can be employed in future research.

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About this Chapter

Title
Natural Language Processing and Learning Analytics

Book Title
Handbook of Learning Analytics

Pages
pp. 93-104

Copyright
2017

DOI
10.18608/hla17.008

ISBN
978-0-9952408-0-3

Publisher
Society for Learning Analytics Research

Authors
Danielle S. McNamara 1
Laura K. Allen1
Scott A. Crossley2
Mihai Dascalu3
Cecile A. Perret4

Author Affiliations
1. Psychology Department, Arizona State University, USA
2. Applied Linguistics and ESL Department, Georgia State University, USA
3. Computer Science Department, University Politehnica of Bucharest, Romania
4. Institute for the Science of Teaching and Learning, Arizona State University, USA

Editors
Charles Lang5
George Siemens6
Alyssa Wise7
Dragan Gašević8

Editor Affiliations
5. Teachers College, Columbia University, USA
6. LINK Research Lab, University of Texas at Arlington, USA
7. Learning Analytics Research Network, New York University, USA
8. Schools of Education and Informatics, University of Edinburgh, UK

Founding Members
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