Award Date

August 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching and Learning

First Committee Member

P.G. Schrader

Second Committee Member

Michael McCreery

Third Committee Member

Randall Boone

Fourth Committee Member

Jonathan Hilpert

Number of Pages



Modern societies exhibit an entanglement between the real- and digital-worlds in their daily routines. Learning has been studied in real and virtual settings, but our understanding of research methods in physical spaces eclipses what is known about best practices related to the definition of variables, measurement, data extraction, and the interpretation of findings in online learning environments (OLE). When viewed as non-traditional OLE, video games and the information and communication technologies that undergird them (e.g., Discord, Reddit, etc.) hold promise in learning research for their ability to evince theories, as platforms for the observation of behavior, and digital petri dishes for data collection and study replication. However, it is often difficult to effectively capture the complexity OLE, like video games, when employing traditional research methods and designs. Relative to other contexts, there are limited examples of how to identify, collect, and analyze rich data from OLE like games. Accordingly, this research built an evidence model using a systems approach for the assessment of learning in novel online contexts (i.e., video games and social media). Educational Data Mining (EDM) and Learning Analytics (LA) techniques were utilized. Data science methods prevalent in video game communities were employed to bolster EDM/LA methods regarding data extraction, transformation, and load processes. A Complex Systems Approach served as a guiding framework to consider the dynamic, emergent, and complex characteristics of learning in interactive environments.


Data Science; Educational Data Mining; Learning Analytics; Mixed Methods; Social Media


Education | Educational Psychology

File Format


File Size

2010 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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