Workshop on Epistemic Network Analysis? An open source tool for analysing large sets of discourse data

  • Date:
  • Speaker: David Williamson Shaffer Vilas, Distinguished Achievement Professor of Learning Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Learning in the 21st century means thinking in complex and collaborative ways that are situated in a real world context. This workshop will introduce participants to Epistemic Network Analysis (ENA), a tool for modelling complex thinking. A central premise of ENA is that complex thinking is characterized by a network of connections in a domain. ENA is used to quantify the structure of connections that constitute complex thinking in large-scale datasets and logfiles of many kinds, including but not limited to games and simulations, chat, email, and actions online. By modelling patterns of connections in discourse, ENA can help researchers quantify and visualize the development of such connections over time for individuals and groups, compare networks between different people or contexts, create trajectories for the development of expertise, and model the contribution of individuals to group discourse.

Professor David Williamson Shaffer from the University of Madison-Wisconsin ( will begin by presenting the basics of the method and tool, and outlining some of the ways he and his team have used it. Participants are invited to share their projects and the data they have in order to explore whether this tool would be useful. If you have existing data from a MOOC, or a collaborative learning (CSCL) environment, or interview data, or student essays and assignments, or transcribed video data, or social network data, or even data from eye-tracking or brain scans, you are invited to bring it to the workshop. Participants are encouraged to bring a laptop and their data to work on during this workshop.

The tool and further information are available on this website:

As this is meant to be an interactive session we need to limit numbers. Please RSVP if you plan to come by emailing