Be Constructive: Learning Computational Thinking Using Scratch™ Online Community

Aditya Johri, Bushra Chowdhury

Online learning communities are predicated on the assumption that social interaction among participants will lead to learning. Yet, research has shown that not all interactions result in learning and that there is a need to develop a more nuanced understanding of the nature of activities in online communities and their relationship with learning. We analyzed data from the Scratch™ online learning community, a platform designed to teach Computational Thinking (CT) through block-based activities, using the Differentiated Overt Learning Activities (DOLA) framework to assess learning. We found that users who engaged in constructive activities demonstrated higher learning, as illustrated by the complexity of their contributions, compared to users who were merely active on the platform. We compared users across two sub-communities within Scratch and found that participation and contributions across the two domains resulted in different learning outcomes, showcasing the effect of context on learning within online communities.