Development of a benchmark system for analyzing collaborative group performance as part of an educational online knowledge management system

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1 Semar, Wolfgang: Development of a benchmark system for analyzng collaboratve group performance as part of an educatonal onlne knowledge management system. n: Arabna, Hamd; et al. (Hg.): Proceedngs of the nternatonal Conference on nformaton and Knowledge Engneerng - KE'05. Las Vegas: CSREA Press, 2005 Deses Dokument wrd unter folgender HCreatve-CommonsH-Lzenz veröffentlcht: Hhttp://creatvecommons.org/lcenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/de/H Development of a benchmark system for analyzng collaboratve group performance as part of an educatonal onlne knowledge management system Dr. Wolfgang Semar Unversty of Konstanz nformaton Scence Box 87 D Konstanz (Germany) Abstract: Electronc communcaton forums n educaton n general and n partcular do not work wthout proactve motvaton of ther users. Users need to know what ther benefts are when sharng knowledge and contrbutng actvely n such forums. Therefore the collaboratve knowledge management system K3 whch s used n academc educaton of nformaton Engneerng students at the unversty of Konstanz n Germany has been developed wthn a benchmark system to motvate users. Ths paper descrbes how the dfferent benchmark means of quantfyng work together n measurng and assessng users performance and thus stmulatng ther wllng to cooperate n ther collaboratve work. Specal attenton s gven to the degree of collaboraton of group work. We suggest four crtera for measurng ths degree: partcpaton, nteracton, synthess, and ndependence. Keywords: collaboratve knowledge management; CSCW; ncentve system; benchmark; motvaton; measurement; assessment 1.0 ntroducton Currently, new ways of educaton are emergng. Collaboratve and self-controlled learnng by way of electronc meda s a man ssue. t has been shown that the partcpants n such electronc learnng systems need to be proactvely motvated and supported. Usually, ths s done by personal addresses: A lecturer wll ask the students for certan actons wthn the system. Ths forces performance n the learnng envronment, but t s more successful and sustanable to really motvate the students. That s where ncentve and motvaton systems come n [12, p. 23]. We want to ntroduce such a system: t conssts of varous vsualzed benchmarks for every sngle user. So they get ndvdual assessment and are motvated to collaborate and to take part n generatng knowledge. 1

2 Ths ncentve system s part of the K3 1 software whch enables collaboratve creaton of conceptual knowledge from heterogeneous resources and through electronc communcaton forums. K3 s an open software system that supports collaboratve and dstrbuted producton of conceptual knowledge n academc learnng envronments by usng heterogeneous resources and moderated electronc communcaton forums. Further nformaton competency s to be ganed by embeddng external nformaton resources (from the WWW and the scentfc communty). Ths knowledge s strongly lnked, structured by context and semantcs as well as vsualzed to ensure comfortable navgaton. A credtng/ratng feature s ntegral part of the K3 system and s the bass of the ncentve system. Every entry a student makes to the system be t a comment on a current thread or a reference lnk s regstered and credted as ndvdual performance or as part of collaboratve work. These contrbutons also generate certan scores and there s a vsualzed output. Ths s a permanent feedback functon showng the students how they are performng. By comparng ndvdual performance wth other students performance every partcpant can see ther current standng wthn the communty. Thus t s possble to have a dynamc and ndvdual evaluaton of learnng success as well as an assessment of the group s collaboraton actvtes. An ncentve system wth strong focus on reputatonal aspects has been establshed to support the whole process of generatng knowledge. The partcpants are gven a task whch they have to solve by team work. ndvdual ncentves are gven to promote ndvdual performance whch then s evaluated wth the benchmarks. The results of ths evaluaton affect the students motvaton, so they wll go on wth ther task untl t s done successfully. 2.0 Developng a benchmark system for measurng collaboratve team work n educaton, especally motves of ntrnsc nature are mportant [14]. ntrnsc rewards or ncentves come from work tself. f the proper motves, e.g. strvng for excellence, are gven, ntrnsc motvaton comes mmedately wth actng, wth personal success. t s the user's choce whch knd of actvty they want to take, therefore K3 has been bult so that anybody can choose the actvty that s most motvatng. And wth the help of the K3 benchmark system everyone and every group can check how successful ther performance s. K3 s about collaboratve knowledge management. Wth collaboraton beng a complex process t s dfferent to tell, f a group s really collaboratng or f t s just cooperatng, and how successful and effectve the collaboraton s. There are some characterstcs to defne collaboratve group work: Frst, nterdependence wthn a group [6]. nterdependence requres that each member actvely contrbute to the group dscusson. At a superfcal level, t requres smple partcpaton by each member. Roughly equal partcpaton at ths level s a necessary but not a suffcent condton for nterdependence. Once roughly equal partcpaton has been establshed, however, we must dg deeper to see whether the dscussants are genunely nteractng. How much the ndvduals contrbuted to solvng the problem s ndcated by the nteracton n the group on the content of the problem [5, p. 225]. nteracton requres partcpaton by all group members but s more than that. Group members have to respond and react to one another durng the course of dscusson, that s, they have to nteract. Wthout these two ssues (partcpaton and nteracton) there can be no collaboraton n a team. Collaboraton needs farly equal actvty by every team member. nteracton s more than just partcpaton, t s about acton nteractng wth others and reactng to others. f there s no acton, response or dscourse, one can not talk of collaboraton. Second, the teams must have a msson and work up to a common am whch s the result of ther dscussons and that s the synthess of all ndvdual contrbutons. Collaboraton requres that the 1 K3 s a system that s currently beng developed at the unversty of Konstanz/char of nformaton Scence. t s a project funded by the German Mnstry of Scence and Educaton (BMBF, Project number: 08C5896). For further nformaton see the project's webste: 2

3 group generate a product that s dstnct from the ndvdual contrbutons of the group members. Collaboraton s more than the exchange of nformaton and deas. t s the creaton of new nsghts n the ndvduals of the group durng the dscusson. The ndvdual resources combned make the result that s more than the sum of the parts. Thus, t s the synthess of shared nformaton and deas that creates a product dfferent from any that the ndvduals could have produced alone [7, 5]. Thrd, the team s ndependence. Ths means on the one hand sde ndependence as autonomous actons of students who do not refer questons and problems to the nstructor, and on the other hand sde that the nstructor does not have to ntervene wth the group's work. The team must be able to collaborate wth each other or seekng alternatve sources to fnd a soluton on ther own and come to synthess wthout the nstructor s help [9]. The concept benchmark has seen a long dscusson whch led to a commonly accepted understandng [11, p. 19]: Snce the 1970 s, t s common understandng that benchmarks are to be seen as a concentrated form of complex, quanttatve ssues of the subject matter to whch they are appled to [13, p. 3]. Beng of nformatve character, ther quantfablty, and ther specfc form are the characterstcs of benchmarks. The benchmarks show facts and those facts nterdependences ths s ther nformatve character. Quantfablty results form varables that brng facts nto a numerc form and make them scalable. Ths metrc dsplay allows a concse vew of complex structures and processes [11, p. 20]. The nterpretaton of sngle benchmarks wthout knowng ther conceptual background should be avoded, because t may lead to wrong conclusons [11, p. 20]. t s advsable to supply quanttatve benchmarks wth qualtatve nformaton [15]. Ths can compensate a lack of nformaton caused by lookng at a sngle benchmark preferrably, benchmarks from related backgrounds are beng combned. They may be of mathematcal or logcal nature [10]. Generally, a benchmark system s a complaton of quanttatve varables wth the sngle benchmarks n a useful relaton, mutually complementng or explanng each other, and beng drected to a greater common dea [11, p. 23]. 3.0 K3 benchmarks for measurng collaboraton Dfferent grades and levels of actvty to measure the readness for nteracton and communcaton n electronc communcaton forums are descrbed by [8, p. 50]. We use them as a bass for further measures to rate the actvtes of K3 users. However, one must not use too many benchmarks for they may cause nformaton overload. To avod ths, the benchmarks are compacted n a benchmark system and are vsualzed n a second step. For settng up the ncentve/motvatonal benchmark component n K3 t s not helpful to use a herarchc method, for not all K3 benchmarks are mathematcally related. The more useful approach s to have the measures n an order defned by subject and content crtera [4, p. 555]. Grob [2, p. 50] suggest a benchmark system for LMSs (learnng management systems) from whch we borrow the K3 benchmarks: coverage, relaton, and tme range that are regstered on four levels: System level, course level, team level, and ndvdual level. Coverage s generated from measures lke number of partcpants and entres and s gven as absolute numbers (and sums). The combnaton of absolute numbers generates relaton fgures. They are shown as percentage or ndex numbers [13, p. 8]. Tme range fgures are derved from montorng long-tme user performance. By analyzng tmelnes then changes n benchmarks can be dentfed. The underlyng ddactc dea of K3 s that of collaboratve group work. A group s gven a task by the nstructor (on course level) and the group has to solve ths task on ther own (on team level). Each member of the group has to enrol to one of varous gven roles (.e. presenter, researcher, moderator, summarzer) whch they hold untl the task s fnshed. The group decde on ther own whch role s taken by whom. Ths process of assgnng roles (by beng dscussed n the system) has to be marked as entry type organsatonal. A correspondng feld type s provded. To ensure collaboratve 3

4 knowledge work every partcpant has to take part n the dscusson besdes ther role functon. Each entry needs to be typed by ts contrbutor. K3 provdes the entry types: Organsatonal, comment, queston, hypothess, agreement, rejecton, argument contnued, example, defnton, summary, presentaton, and reference. So every entry bears a specal mark dependng on ts type and author, and t can be seen any tme who made whch entry. n ths paper, we wll focus on the benchmarks on team and on ndvdual level to defne the degree of collaboraton wthn a group. t s not easy to create a sngle decson rule that allows us to categorze groups defntvely as collaboratve or non-collaboratve ones. nstead, there s a contnuum for groups from hghly collaboratve to barely collaboratve. On team level and on ndvdual level there are some benchmarks of organsatonal nature, but partcularly there are ddactc fgures, for they are mportant for enhancng motvaton, especally when showng and comparng performance of the dfferent groups n relaton to each other. Also the changng of a group s fgures durng tme s mportant, because t shows the team s development. And t s these benchmarks on team level that are the most nterestng, because they ndcate the actual collaboratve knowledge management. We need ways to measure the relatve amounts of synthess, ndependence, nteracton, and partcpaton. For every team each of the four characterstcs s taken and the degree of collaboraton s set up. These collaboraton degree wll then allow us to compare groups for the amount of collaboraton they exhbt. The benchmark "synthess" can only be found n a cogntve way. n K3, ths s done by the team members. The member who wrtes the summary, has to make t avalable to the whole team before publcaton. Every partcpant of the group has to consent and to rate the summary wth a votng tool. Summary does not become "synthess" untl each member's knowledge work has become part of t. f entres are mssng or are not shown properly, the summary has to be re-done or t wll be rated poorly. f all members agree wth the summary and each ndvdual entry has been respected, the degree of synthess s 1; f t s close to 0, there has been no collaboratve group work. The benchmark ndependence s the ablty of the group to work wthout the nstructor. t s measured by analyzng the extent of nstructors nfluence n both partcpaton and nteracton. A dscusson n whch few or no threads occur wthout nstructor nput s not ndependent, and hence not truly collaboratve. t has to be consdered that the nstructor does not only make comments whch are advce to the group, but whch also support the group and encourages them to go on. These supportve contrbutons by the nstructor should not nfluence the measurement. The K3 system recognzes such entres by a mark the nstructor makes. The "degree of ndependence" of a group s the result from: "Degree of ndependence" = 1 - ("Number of correctve nstructor's entres" / "Number of all entres" n the group (students' plus correctve nstructor's entres)). f t s close to 0, there s lttle ndependence wthn the team; f close to 1, there s strong ndependence. nteracton requres at least a comment and a response to the comment, thus t s partly determned by the length of the dalogue. The response must refer to a prevous statement. Stand-alone comments are ndependent statements. They do not lead to further dscusson, and they nether respond to a comment nor generate a response. Collaboraton requres more than the exchange of nformaton that occurs n a seres of ndependent statements. ndependent statements may contrbute to the task, snce they enable the group members to add nformaton and learn from the group, but they are not true nteracton and thus are not part of the collaboratve effort [ngram 2003, 228]. A great number of stand-alone entres may ndcate cooperatve group work, but not collaboratve group work, because stand-alone entres are not of an nteractve nature. A gven thread A-B-C-A shows three dfferent users makng a contrbuton, wth B and C reactng to A and the last comment made by A. So the degree of nteracton of a group can be found by calculatng the number of stand-alone entres. Entres of an organsatonal nature are not consdered for they are not actually part of a dscusson. The benchmark degree of nteracton of a group s the result from: Degree of nteracton = 1 ( Number of stand-alone entres n a group / Number of entres by all students ). f the result s close to 0, there s lttle team nteracton; f t s close to 1, there s a lot of nteracton. 4

5 Partcpaton forms the skeleton that supports nteracton. For every user the measure Partcpaton s taken on the ndvdual level by calculatng the number of entres by user. The rato of ( Number of entres by user / Number of entres by all students ) thus ndcates the degree of partcpaton of one ndvdual user (p ). f ths value s close to 0, the member has not done much group work, f the value s close to 1, ths member has made all contrbutons. We compare these measures on the group level and combne them for each team member n a key named degree of partcpaton of group (P G ). n a truly collaboratng team each member should make about the same amount of contrbutons so for a group of four the value for degree of partcpaton for each partcpant would be 0,25 (σ 4). f one member scores 0, he or she was not partcpatng, and there s a 0,33 for the three other members, gven that each one wrote the same number of entres. The devaton from 0,25 thus ndcates the dfferent degree of partcpaton for each member of the group. To get one common benchmark for the whole group we add up all devatons. So the degree of partcpaton of the group (P G ) may be obtaned by the sum of devatons from the standard value: P G := =1 p σ Ths sum, however, s just gettng 0, when the group has been workng collaboratvely. But we are lookng for a mathematcal procedure to delver 1 as a result n the case of collaboratve workng. The mathematcal method of entropy gves values between 0 (= absolutely no collaboratve group work) and 1n() (= most collaboratve group work). That s: Entropy (n nts): h ( x ) : = = p ln( p ) wth, 0 h ( x ) ln ( ) = Number of Members p = (Number of entres by user / Number of entres by all students) x = Group G 1 S nce we want to have a range between 0 and 1 we have to normalse ths entropy by dvdng t through ln(). f entropy s normalsed to the group sze lke ths, groups of dfferent szes can be compared: Normalsed entropy: = 1 hn( x) : = p ln( p ) / ln( ) wth, 0 hn ( x ) 1 n our case, the "degree of partcpaton of group G (P G )" s defned as dentcal wth the normalsed entropy hn(x). f the result s close to 0, there s mbalanced partcpaton of the sngle members; f t s close to 1, the partcpaton of the members s farly balanced. Degree of collaboraton wthn a group s found by puttng on a vector of the fgures of the groups degree of partcpaton, degree of nteracton, degree of ndependence, and degree of synthess. Thus a quadruple for the degree of group collaboraton s bult: Degree of group collaboraton Optmal Range of values value Degree of partcpaton 1 0 to 1 Degree of nteracton 1 0 to 1 Degree of synthess 1 0 to 1 Degree of ndependence 1 0 to 1 Tab. 1 Quadruple Degree of group collaboraton 5

6 Ths vector resp. the four degrees can be vsualzed n a spdergram. Due to the ndependence of the degrees the captons of the sngle axes need not to be n partcular order, but for reasons of clarty t s preferable to mantan the order once chosen. The next fgure shows the degree of collaboraton between two dfferent groups (G1 and G2). The vsualzaton may be used as a dagnostc tool for analyzng groups, be t for comparng varous groups or showng the development of a specfc group durng tme. Degree of partcpaton Degree of ndependence Degree of nteracton G1 G2 Degree of synthess Fg. 1 Vsualzaton of group collaboraton comparng the performance of two groups G1 (0.75/0.5/0.5/0.5) and G2 (1/1/1/1) When comparng dfferent groups to each other the most useful key for comparson s the degree of group collaboraton. The nstructor and the team members thus can learn how the dfferent groups are performng. By tmelne analyss t s shown how the degree of group collaboraton wthn a group and n relaton to the other groups has been changng durng the whole course and whle workng on a task. 4.0 Summary The benchmark system gven here shows the fndng of the measure "degree of group collaboraton". t can be used to analyze how successful a group of partcpants has solved ther gven task n collaboraton. When desgnng the K3 software one ssue was to allow the feature of addtonal benchmarks besde those presented n ths paper, whch are used for the ddactc, organsatonal, techncal, and motvatonal control of K3 partcpaton. There are deas of nstallng further benchmarks on the ndvdual level to learn more detals on sngle user performance, f. ex.: Who s fastest/slowest n reactng to a comment? What s the average number of reactons to an entry? How many reples are there n general? One aspect we are currently gvng specal attenton s the vsualzaton of the benchmarks: s t better to have graphcs or should the keys be dsplayed n tables? Furthermore, t s dscussed whch user may retreve whch key data from the system. Also t has to be examned n more detal whether the "degree of nteracton" s rather found by the structure of dscourse n a group than by the stand-alone statements. K3 n the current verson s a bass to be extended step by step. An evaluaton of the frst release has shown that contnuous assessment and dsplayng benchmarks has postve mpacts on the work and motvaton of K3 users. 6

7 5.0 References [ 1] Betrebswrtschaftlches nsttut fuer Organsaton und Automaton: Kennzahlenbuch der Materalwrtschaft. Arbetspaper Köln: Unverstät Köln/BFOA, 1980 [2] Grob, Henz Lothar; Bensberg, Frank; Dewanto, Lof; Düppe, ngo: Controllng von Learnng Management-Systemen en kennzahlenorenterter Ansatz. n: Carstensen, Dors; Barros, Beate (Hg.): Campus Kommen de dgtalen Meden an der Hochschule n de Jahre? Münster: Waxmann, 2004, S [3] [4] [5] [6] Henr, France: Computer conferencng and contend analyss. n: Kaye, Anthony R. (Hg.): Collaboratve Learnng Through Computer Conferencng. The Najaden Papers; [proceedngs of the NATO Advanced Workshop on Collaboratve Learnng and Computer Conferencng, held n Copenhagen, Denmark, July 29 - August 3, 1991]. Berln: Sprnger, 1992, S Hummel, Thomas: Quellen und Elemente von nformatonssystemen des Controllng. n: Stenle, Claus; Bruch, Heke (Hg.): Controllng - Kompendum für Ausbldung und Praxs. Stuttgart: Schäffer Poeschel, 2003 ngram, Albert L.; Hathorn, Lesley G.: Methods for Analysng Collaboraton n Onlne Communcatons. n: Roberts, Tm S. (Hg.): Onlne Collaboratve Learnng: Theory and Praxce. nformaton Scence Publshng: Hershey, 2003, S [7] Kaye, Anthony R.: Learnng together apart. n: Kaye, Anthony R. (Hg.): Collaboratve Learnng Through Computer Conferencng. The Najaden Papers; [proceedngs of the NATO Advanced Workshop on Collaboratve Learnng and Computer Conferencng, held n Copenhagen, Denmark, July 29 - August 3, 1991]. Berln: Sprnger, 1992, S [8] [9] Laffey, James; Tupper, Thomas; Musser, Dale; Wedman, John: A computer-medated support system for projekt-based learnng. Educatonal Technology Research and Development, 46 (1), [10] [12] Schanz, Günther: Motvatonale Grundlagen der Gestaltung von Anrezsystemen. n: Schanz, Günther (Hg.): Handbuch Anrezsysteme n Wrtschaft und Verwaltung. Stuttgart: Poeschel, 1991, S [13] [14] [15] Johnson, Davd W.; Johnson Roger T; Smth, Karl A: Cooperatve learnng returns to college. n: Change, 30 (4), Kuhlen, Raner: Mondlandung des nternet. Konstanz: UVK, 1998 Meyer, Claus: Betrebswrtschaftlche Kennzahlen und Kennzahlensysteme. Stuttgart: Poeschel, [11] Rechmann, Thomas: Controlng mt Kennzahlen und Managementberchten. München: Vahlen, 2001 Schwckert, Axel C.; Wendt, Peter: Controllng-Kennzahlen für Web Stes. n: Arbetspapere W, Nr. 8/2000, (Hg): Lehrstuhl für Allg. BWL und Wrtschaftsnformatk, Johannes Gutenberg-Unverstät: Manz, 2000 Semar, Wolfgang: ncentve Systems n Knowledge Management to Support Cooperatve Dstrbuted Forms of Creatng and Acqurng Knowledge. n: Arabna, Hamd et al. (Hg.): Proceedngs of the nternatonal Conference on nformaton and Knowledge Engneerng - KE'04. Las Vegas: CSREA Press, 2004, S Staehle, Wolfgang H.: Kennzahlen und Kennzahlensysteme als Mttel der Organsaton und Führung von Unternehmen. Wesbaden: Gabler,

Evaluation of a benchmark system for analyzing collaborative group performance as part of an educational online knowledge management system

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