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Kim Aling

Blended Learning MOOC: Learning Analytics

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Edited by Kim Aling, Thursday, 4 Feb 2016, 12:52

I’m a strong supporter of the use of data to analyse learning in order to improve my learners and to develop my practice.  Technology leaves a data trail richer than anything we’ve had before, so why not use it. 

For online learning I have the potential to see if the materials as being accessed and how regularly.  This gives insight into why students aren’t performing well on assignments, if they are missing key content.  If I know lack of engagement is a problem I can target my feedback and have a chat with the students about any technical or accessibility issues they may have.   I can also see from combined indicators which students are at risk of not submitting as assignment or at risk of failing.  This allows early intervention. 

From the student perspective it allows me to be proactive and address an issue before the student gets to a point of no return.  This helps them to avoid risk of dropping out or the risk of an overly stressful period, which in itself can result in low assignment grades.

Learning analytics in another context can allow the teacher, or course designers to continually develop and tailor learning to the cohort.  Advanced data collection and analysis can even allow course content to be personalised to the learner.  Areas of weakness can be identified and additional material pushed, or stretch and challenge activities offered where learners are doing well. 

From a learners perspective it is also important to allow them access to their own data so that you give them the tools to reflect and develop their learning.  This fosters autonomy and empowers students to take control of their own learning.  This does need scaffolding so that students can be helped to understand data and understand the options available.  Therefore is has to be an easy tool with data that is easy to interpret.

For me, student use of data is vital if we are not to be seen as comtrolling their learning.   As teachers we may see what needs to be done, but developing autonomy is important if we are to develop their cognitive skills and create truly independent learners.

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