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Patterns of Students’ Utilization of Flexibility in Online Academic Courses and Their Relation to Course Achievement

  • Tal Soffer
  • Tali Kahan
  • Rafi Nachmias
Keywords: higher education, online learning, LMS, flexible learning, personalized learning, learning behavior, course achievement, educational data mining, online academic courses


Online academic courses provide students with flexible learning opportunities by allowing them to make choices regarding diverse aspects of their learning process; hence, such courses support personalized learning. This study aimed to analyze the ways students make use of flexibility in online academic courses based on learning time, place, and access to learning resources, as well as to investigate how this relates to differences in course achievement. The study examined 587 students in four online courses. Educational data mining (EDM) methodology was used to trace students’ behavior in the courses and to compute 34 variables, which describe their use of flexibility. The results show that students developed different patterns of learning time, place, and access to content, which indicates that flexibility was used substantially. Students’ achievements were significantly related to patterns of learning time and access to learning resources. Understanding the different patterns of flexibility usage may support the design of personalized learning and increase collaboration among students with similar characteristics.

How to Cite
Soffer, T., Kahan, T., & Nachmias, R. (2019). Patterns of Students’ Utilization of Flexibility in Online Academic Courses and Their Relation to Course Achievement. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 20(3).
Research Articles