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Expectations and reality: Evaluating patterns of learning behaviour using audit trails


Computers & Education Volume 49, Number 3, ISSN 0360-1315 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


Developers of educational multimedia programs have expectations about the way in which they will be used. These expectations can be broadly categorised as either functional (primarily related to the interface) or educational (related to learning designs, processes and outcomes). However, student users will not always engage with educational multimedia in the ways developers envisage and the adoption of a particular learning design, however well implemented, does not guarantee particular learning processes or outcomes. We investigated the relationship between intended and actual user behaviour by analysing detailed electronic records of user activities (audit trails) within a multimedia program in which medical students adopt the role of a doctor in a simulated clinical interview. Audit trails of 294 users across three years were analysed, focussing on two critical learning activities (interviewing and note taking). Cluster and χ2 analyses revealed four distinct types of users: ‘confused or strategic’ (12.9%), ‘disengaged’ (40.8%), ‘expected’ (26.5%) and ‘diligent’ (19.7%). Our work in the future will focus on using audit trails in investigations of students learning processes and outcomes in educational multimedia environments.


Kennedy, G.E. & Judd, T.S. (2007). Expectations and reality: Evaluating patterns of learning behaviour using audit trails. Computers & Education, 49(3), 840-855. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved January 27, 2023 from .

This record was imported from Computers & Education on February 1, 2019. Computers & Education is a publication of Elsevier.

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