A New Dimension in Student Learning: Measuring Wait Times

  • Joe C. H. Yuen
  • Albert C. Cheung
  • K. L. Fung
  • Alvin C. K. Lai
  • C. M. Leung
  • S. M. Lo
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 407)


We have developed a system for measuring wait-times in realtime. The concept of the system is ideally suited to enable new instruction designs for online knowledge sharing platforms such as open education resources or e-textbooks, particularly for assessments and training modes. In our preliminary trials with online exercises and assessments, the total time taken by a student for each multiple choice question (MCQ) was segregated into 3 parts (read time, think time and answer time). Students took longer for higher level questions, as subjectively classified by the teachers according to Bigg’s SOLO taxonomy. Furthermore, there were significantly broader spreads in their think times for higher level questions. These results demonstrated that wait-time can be used to discriminate student abilities, measure assessment difficulties and allow useful correlations with various student characteristics. In providing a new dimension of time to better quantify student learning, the system would be useful for experimental research in learning. Results could further provide evidence to support instructional designs.


wait-time taxonomies online assessments discrimination 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joe C. H. Yuen
    • 1
  • Albert C. Cheung
    • 1
  • K. L. Fung
    • 1
  • Alvin C. K. Lai
    • 1
  • C. M. Leung
    • 2
  • S. M. Lo
    • 1
  1. 1.City University of Hong KongHong Kong SARChina
  2. 2.Open University of Hong KongHong Kong SARChina

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