Teachers’ Perspectives on the Promises, Needs and Challenges of Learning Analytics Dashboards: Insights from Institutions Offering Blended and Distance Learning

Kaliisa, Rogers; Gillespie, Anna; Herodotou, Christothea; Kluge, Anders and Rienties, Bart (2021). Teachers’ Perspectives on the Promises, Needs and Challenges of Learning Analytics Dashboards: Insights from Institutions Offering Blended and Distance Learning. In: Sahin, Muhittin and Dirk, Ifenthaler eds. Visualizations and Dashboards for Learning Analytics. Advances in Analytics for Learning and Teaching. Cham: Springer, pp. 351–370.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-81222-5_16

Abstract

The power of learning analytics (LA) dashboards in supporting teachers in the iterative process of improving the effectiveness of their courses supporting students is widely acknowledged. However, the use of LA dashboards by teachers remains variable. In this chapter, we explore teachers’ perspectives on the promises, needs and challenges of using LA dashboards. The chapter focuses on a cross-case analysis of two unique case studies that are currently at different stages of LA implementation (small vs large scale) and operating in different ways: a fully online distance learning institution, The Open University (OU) in the UK, and a “traditional” face-to-face learning institution, the University of Oslo (UiO) in Norway. While there are some differences between the two institutions regarding the use and scale of LA dashboard implementation, the overall comparison indicates that teachers at both institutions perceive LA dashboards as valuable tools to support data-informed decisions. At the same time, it was evident across the two case studies that systematic use of LA dashboards by teachers remains problematic, with scepticism about using data to measure teacher performance, ethical issues, a lack of informative visualisations and a missing connection between dashboards and pedagogical intentions cited as key concerns. This chapter highlights guidelines and implications for teachers, researchers and technology developers concerning advancing the use and development of LA dashboards.

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