Learning at informal sites (e.g., online forums) is rarely assessed through tests or standard measures of individual outcomes, but it often yields copious process data (e.g., online messages, mouse clicks). To analyze informal learning processes, statistical discourse analysis (SDA) estimates how likely one or more target processes (e.g., creativity, justification) occur in each online message and the effects of explanatory factors at multiple levels (e.g., sequences of recent messages, individual, group, topic, time period). SDA also statistically identifies pivotal moments (e.g., summaries) that radically change how often target processes occur and models factors that affect whether these pivotal moments occur.

This entry discusses the analytic difficulties that SDA addresses and then gives examples of SDA studies of face-to-face classroom learning and informal, online learning. These SDA ...

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