Student Drop-out Modelling Using Virtual Learning Environment Behaviour Data

Kuzilek, Jakub; Vaclavek, Jonas; Fuglik, Viktor and Zdrahal, Zdenek (2018). Student Drop-out Modelling Using Virtual Learning Environment Behaviour Data. In: Lifelong Technology-Enhanced Learning - 13th European Conference on Technology Enhanced Learning (Pammer-Schindler, Victoria; Pérez-Sanagustín, Mar; Drachsler, Hendrik; Elferink, Raymond and Maren, Scheffel eds.), Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Springer, pp. 166–171.



With the rapid advancement of Virtual Learning Environments (VLE) in higher education, the amount of available student data grows. Universities collect the information about students, their demographics, their study results and their behaviour in the online environment. By applying modelling and predictive analysis methods it is possible to predict student outcome or detect bottlenecks in course design. Our work aims at statistical simulation of student behaviour in the VLE in order to identify behavioural patterns leading to drop-out or passive withdrawal i.e. the state when a student is not studying, but he has not actively withdrawn from studies. For that purpose, the method called Markov chain modelling has been used. Recorded student activities in VLE (VLE logs) has been used for constructing of probabilistic representation that students will perform some activity in the next week based on their activities in the current week. The result is an instance of the family of absorbing Markov chains, which can be analysed using the property called time to absorption. The preliminary results show that interesting patterns in student VLE behaviour can be uncovered, especially when combined with the information about submission of the first assessment. Our analysis has been performed using Open University Learning Analytics dataset (OULAD) and research notes are available online (

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