Despite rising levels of participation by children and adolescents in large, informal online learning communities, there has been limited research examining the role that social dynamics play on the online behavior of young users. In this context, this mixed-methods longitudinal study aimed to investigate the relationship between interaction, collaboration and content creation through the analysis of user-generated comments and log-data from the Scratch platform. The research focused on more than 45,000 comments associated with the online activity of 200 randomly selected participants over a period of three months in early 2012. A combination of methodological techniques was applied in the analysis of the data. Epistemic network analysis was used to identify patterns in the discourse of the comments shared by users in the online community. In addition, generalized linear mixed models (GLMM) and vector autoregression (VAR) models were developed to assess the temporal associations that may exist between interaction and content creation. Analysis of the comment data revealed that young users participate in the Scratch community in creative and diverse ways that involve actively interacting and collaborating with others on the platform. It was also found that the discourse of participants who engaged in higher levels of content creation were more likely to emphasize information seeking and collaboration while those exhibiting lower levels of content creation tended to focus on socially-oriented exchanges, including those seeking to build of relationships with other members of the community.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Education -- Effect of technological innovations on; Computer programming -- Education; Online social networks -- Education.

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Eric Hamilton