Effective usage of Learning Analytics: What do practitioners want and where should distance learning institutions be going?

Rienties, Bart; Olney, Tom; Nichols, Mark and Herodotou, Christothea (2019). Effective usage of Learning Analytics: What do practitioners want and where should distance learning institutions be going? Open Learning: The Journal of Open, Distance and e-learning (Early Access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/02680513.2019.1690441

Abstract

The implementation of learning analytics may empower distance learning institutions to provide real-time feedback to students and teachers. Given the leading role of the Open University UK (OU) in research and application of learning analytics, this study aims to share the lessons learned from the experiences of 42 participants from a range of faculty, academic and professional positions, and expertise with learning analytics. Furthermore, we explored where distance learning institutions should be going next in terms of learning analytics adoption.
The findings from the Learning Analytics User Stories (LAUS) workshop indicated that four key areas where more work is needed: communication, personalisation, integrated design, and development of an evidence-base. The workshop outputs signalled the aspiration for an integrated analytics system transcending the entire student experience, from initial student inquiry right through to qualification completion and into life-long learning. We hope that our study will spark discussion on whether (or not) distance learning institutions should pursue the dream of an integrated, personalised, and evidence-based learning analytics system that clearly communicates useful feedback to staff and students, or whether this will become an Orwellian nightmare.

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