Uncovering patterns in collaborative interactions via cluster analysis of museum exhibit logfiles

Natalie Jorion, Jessica Roberts, Alex Bowers, Mike Tissenbaum, Leilah Lyons, Vishesh Kumar, Matthew Berland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A driving factor in designing interactive museum exhibits to support simultaneous users is that visitors learn from one another via observation and conversation. Researchers typically analyze such collaborative interactions among museumgoers through manual coding of live-or video-recorded exhibit use. We sought to determine how log data from an interactive multi-user exhibit could indicate patterns in visitor interactions that could shed light on informal collaborative learning. We characterized patterns from log data generated by an interactive tangible tabletop exhibit using factors like “pace of activity” and the timing of “success events.” Here we describe processes for parsing and visualizing log data and explore what these processes revealed about individual and group interactions with interactive museum exhibits. Using clustering techniques to categorize museumgoer behavior and heat maps to visualize patterns in the log data, we found distinct trends in how users solved the exhibit. Some players seemed more reflective, while others seemed more achievement oriented. We also found that the most productive sessions occurred when players occupied all four areas of the table, suggesting that the activity design had the desired outcome of promoting collaborative activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-87
Number of pages11
JournalFrontline Learning Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 3 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Cluster analysis
  • Collaborative interactions
  • Game-based learning
  • Heat maps
  • Informal learning environments
  • Log files

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


Dive into the research topics of 'Uncovering patterns in collaborative interactions via cluster analysis of museum exhibit logfiles'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this