ALLS paper to appear in Teachers College Record

The paper entitled “Student Off-Task Behavior in Computer-Based Learning in the Philippines: Comparison to Prior Research in the USA” by Ma. Mercedes T. Rodrigo, professor of the Department of Information Systems and Computer Science, Ryan Baker, Teachers College, Columbia University, and Lisa Rossi of Worcester Polytechnic was accepted for publication in Teachers College Record, an ISI-listed journal of Columbia University.

In this paper, we present three studies designed to address these two limitations. In these three studies, we examine the differences in the off-task behavior of students using intelligent tutoring software in the Philippines and the USA.  Using identical intelligent tutoring software in both countries controls for the potential effect of differences in curricular design on student off-task behavior. We investigate whether Filipino students using intelligent tutors exhibit significantly less off-task behavior than American counterparts, in line with the previously observed patterns of off-task behavior in traditional classrooms in East Asia and Southeast Asia. We also investigate whether students engage in different degrees of a different behavior, gaming the system, where a student intentionally misuses educational software in order to advance in a curriculum without having to learn the material.

In the first study, students in the USA were off-task, on average, seven times more than students in the Philippines (19.7% vs. 2.7%, a statistically significant difference).  Interestingly, however, the proportion of gaming the system was higher in the Philippines (10.7%) than in the United States (5.3%), also a statistically significant difference. As in the first study, the incidence of off-task behavior was quite low in studies two (1%) and three (2.7% for Ecolab, 4.5% for M-Ecolab). However, less gaming the system was seen in the second and third studies than in the first study.

The results of the first study suggest that the previously observed differences in off-task behavior between the USA and Asia cannot be attributed simply to differences in curricula, addressing an important confound in past research comparing off-task behavior in different countries. This suggests that cultural factors (including classroom culture) may play a larger role in the decision to go off-task.

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