Deriving Software Usage Patterns from Log Files
Log files (discrete recordings of user actions during software use) offer the ability to collect human-computer interaction data on a number of users, over time, while the users are engaged in typical tasks in typical environments. The disadvantage of log files is the lack of automated methods for analyzing the volumes of data in a meaningful way. This paper presents a log file analysis tool, Hawk, and discusses the characteristics which make it useful for this task. A particular analysis technique, based on Markov chain analysis, is described which can be used to derive high-level software usage patterns. A study of student interactions with a programming environment are used for examples of the use of the the tool and the technique.