Computational linguistic assessment of textbooks and online texts by means of threshold concepts in economics

TitleComputational linguistic assessment of textbooks and online texts by means of threshold concepts in economics
Publication TypeArticle de revue
Année de publication2021
AuthorsLücking, Andy, Sebastian Brückner, Giuseppe Abrami, Tolga Uslu, and Alexander Mehler
JournalFrontiers in Education
PaginationArticle 578475

The ongoing digitalization of educational resources and the use of the internet lead to a steady increase of potentially available learning media. However, many of the media which are used for educational purposes have not been designed specifically for teaching and learning. Usually, linguistic criteria of readability and comprehensibility as well as content-related criteria are used independently to assess and compare the quality of educational media. This also holds true for educational media used in economics. This article aims to improve the analysis of textual learning media used in economic education by drawing on threshold concepts. Threshold concepts are key terms in knowledge acquisition within a domain. From a linguistic perspective, however, threshold concepts are instances of specialized vocabularies, exhibiting particular linguistic features. In three kinds of (German) resources, namely in textbooks, in newspapers, and on Wikipedia, we investigate the distributive profiles of 63 threshold concepts identified in economics education (which have been collected from threshold concept research). We looked at the threshold concepts’ frequency distribution, their compound distribution, and their
network structure within the three kinds of resources. The two main findings of our
analysis show that firstly, the three kinds of resources can indeed be distinguished in
terms of their threshold concepts’ profiles. Secondly, Wikipedia definitely shows stronger associative connections between economic threshold concepts than the other sources. We discuss the findings in relation to adequate media use for teaching and learning—not only in economic education.