INQUIRY-BASED LEARNING MEETS LEARNING ANALYTICS AND STYLES
Inquiry-based approaches to science learning are gaining popularity. Such approaches combine science knowledge with practicing skills that are generally accepted as the skills of the XXI century. Over a period of 4.5 months a high school class participated in two inquiry projects to self-directly learn topics from applied biology by making use of platforms and tools developed in the course of the European research projects weSPOT (http://wespot.net/) and LEA´s Box (http://leas-box.eu). The first inquiry topic was about ecosystems and the second inquiry topic was about human perception. Overall, 34 students (24 female) aging from 14 to 17 years (M = 15.06; SD = 0.78 years) participated. All students had their own tablet PC to interact with the platforms, to engage with the learning resources, to upload their exercises and results, and to get feedback on their achievements. The students were allowed to self-directly choose learning resources to learn them either alone or with others. Overall, there were 55 (study 1) and 19 (study 2) learning resources available. The learning resources have been evaluated by the students on how helpful they were in their current learning state and by the teacher with regards to the four dimensions of the Index of Learning Styles Questionnaire (ILS; Felder & Soloman, 1996). In both studies, students filled out declarative knowledge pre- and posttests, the ILS (as pretest in study 1 and posttest in study 2) and a learning logbook for the learning resource evaluation. In addition to that, in study 2 the Intrinsic Motivation Inventory (IMI; Deci & Ryan, 2004) as pre-, intermediate- and posttest has been provided to the students. During the inquiries, learning related activities of the students within the weSPOT platform have been collected automatically. In both studies, there is a null-correlation between distance of the learning resources characteristics and the students’ self-assessment with regards to the four dimensions of the ILS on the one side and the students evaluation of the learning resources on the other side. This result speak against the learning styles “matching-hypothesis”, the suggestion that learners and learning resources should “match” to ensure better learning. Correlations between the ILS, the IMI, the knowledge test results, the automatically collected learning activities (learning analytics) and other manually collected learning metrics have been carried out. Most notably, highly significant correlations have been observed between the learning analytics and the teachers’ evaluation of the exercises carried out by the students, the students´ self-assessment of their exercises and the number of consumed learning resources. An Analysis of Variance indicates gender effects (female students consume more learning resources and submit more and better evaluated exercises) a positive impact of intrinsic motivation for the learning resource evaluation. The quantitative results are enriched by a qualitative interview with the teacher on his experiences. The paper concludes with an outline of future research activities with the school.
 Deci, E. L., & Ryan, R. M. (2004). Intrinsic Motivation Inventory. Available at: http://selfdeterminationtheory.org/intrinsic-motivation-inventory/ (last accessed 20 March 2017).
 Felder R.M. & Soloman B. (1996) Index of learning styles questionnaire. Available at: https://www.webtools.ncsu.edu/learningstyles/ (last accessed 20 March 2017).