What Time is It? Student Modeling Needs to Know


Modeling student learning processes is highly complex since it is influenced by many factors such as motivation and learning habits. The high volume of features and tools provided by computer-based learning environments confounds the task of tracking student knowledge even further. Deep Learning models such as Long-Short Term Memory (LSTMs) and classic Markovian models such as Bayesian Knowledge Tracing (BKT) have been successfully applied for student modeling. However, much of this prior work is designed to handle sequences of events with discrete timesteps, rather than considering the continuous aspect of time. Given that time elapsed between successive elements in a student’s tra-jectory can vary from seconds to days, we applied a Time-aware LSTM (T-LSTM) to model the dynamics of student knowledge state in continuous time. We investigate the effectiveness of T-LSTM on two domains with very different characteristics. One involves an open-ended programming environment where students can self-pace their progress and T-LSTM is compared against LSTM, Recent Temporal Pattern Mining, and the classic Logistic Regression (LR) on the early prediction of student success; the other involves a classic tutor-driven intelligent tutoring system where the tutor scaffolds the student learning step by step and T-LSTM is compared with LSTM, LR, and BKT on the early prediction of student learning gains. Our results show that T-LSTM significantly outperforms the other methods on the self-paced, open-ended programming environment; while on the tutor-driven ITS, it ties with LSTM and outperforms both LR and BKT. In other words, while time-irregularity exists in both datasets, T-LSTM works significantly better than other student models when the pace is driven by students. On the other hand, when such irregularity results from the tutor, T-LSTM was not superior to other models but its performance was not hurt either.

Proceedings of the International Conference on Educational Data Mining