Analytics Case Studies: Perceiving Tools (#LAK12 )

Been watching some interesting case studies of learning analytics from the Signals project at Purdue and Check My Activity at UMBC and thinking about parallels with some projects I am working on.

When discussing the impact for learners at Purdue, John Campbell mentioned that the traffic lights led students to perceive that their tutors were there to support them more. This is similar to a conversation I had at University of Greenwich about the experience of a self service tutorial registration tool – students perceived that the LMS (Moodle) was offering them more choice because of it. I like this subtle impact of technology – I have no doubt the tutors at Purdue have always been supportive in the same way that tutorial selection was always permitted, however the introduction of technology makes the process visible and to some extent more tangible. To me this is how good technologies make for what John described as ‘actionable intelligence’.

What appeals to me about learning analytics in this sense is captured in the following quote you’ll see me use at conferences and have lost the source:

There’s probably a long way to go with learners generally to get them to perceive education as something they’re participants in rather than recipients of … I think it’s simply that we haven’t got far enough down the line yet with the whole situation.

This leads me into two examples of from projects that I have been involved in and cross into domains of leanring analytics, although I realise there are so much more to still be done:

Engagement Tracking

Manchester Metropolitan University

This development is in its infancy and shares a starting point with the UMBC project looking at quantitative use of the LMS initially for comaprison with grades, satisfactions surveys etc as we extract the data. This looks at overall activity in the past 4 weeks on the LMS for students in a course group to identify users who may be showing signs of disengagement. It colour codes based on inter-quartile ranges for the group.

Personal Development Plans

Lewisham College

This is part of a wider development for learning plans, but includes student status elements, attendance, and other indicators on a single dashboard available to tutor and student. Similar Purdue this approach embedded into student processes saw retention increase. In the evaluated courses retention rose from 62% to 92% and achievement from 69% to 73% in the first year of this transformation project.


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