The Continuing Adventures of Library Learning Analytics: Exploring the Relationship between Library Skills Training and Student Success.

Killick, Selena; Nurse, Richard and Clough, Helen (2018). The Continuing Adventures of Library Learning Analytics: Exploring the Relationship between Library Skills Training and Student Success. In: Library Assessment Conference, 5-7 Dec 2018, Houston, Texas.



The Open University (OU) is the UK’s largest academic institution dedicated to distance learning, with over 173,000 students. Learning analytics is a key organisational strategic driver at the OU where we have been a leader in this research field internationally (Rienties, Toetenel, 2016). Library Services within the University provide students and staff with access to an extensive online collection of library resources; digital and information literacy skills training and 24/7 support. This paper is a continuation of our work in the field of Library Learning Analytics. Previously published research has identified a positive relationship between library collection access and student success (Nurse, Baker and Gambles, 2018), but what about our skills training provision?

Library Services have been delivering a suite of online synchronous information literacy training sessions embedded into the curriculum in partnership with faculty colleagues since 2014. Attendance is optional for the students and approximately 20% of qualifications have added the library sessions to their tuition strategies. Following a platform provider change in 2017 data on student attendance at online tutorials, and any subsequent views of sessions after the event, have been collected as part of the institutional learning analytics strategy. This research will investigate the relationship between students who participate in the library-provided training sessions during the academic year 2017-18 and their attainment at the end of the module of study. Attainment data, defined as fail, pass or pass with distinction, will be available in October 2018. Attainment scores of students who chose to attend live, and those who watched the session at a later date, will be compared with students from the same module who did not participate. The research will be conducted in accordance with the institutional Ethical use of Student Data for Learning Analytics Policy (The Open University, 2014). Findings of the research will be completed by November 2018.

An early pilot study with a single module has found that students who participated in a training session had on average a 6.5% higher score in their next assignment than the students who chose not to attend. The initial pilot also suggests that there may be a difference between students attending live and those viewing the recording. It should be noted however that a number of factors will impact on student success alongside the library training session.

The drivers for this research are to identify if the online library training sessions are providing an impact on student success in line with key institutional strategic drivers. If they are having a positive effect the information will be used to advocate the service with key stakeholders with an aim to increase resource for the service; with faculty to ensure students from all disciplines are able to benefit; and with students to encourage participation. If they are not having a positive impact on student success future research will be conducted into the reasons why, with the ultimate aim of improving student success.

Nurse, R., Baker, K. and Gambles, A. (2018) ‘Library resources, student success and the distance-learning university’, Information and Learning Science, 119(1/2), pp. 77–86. doi: 10.1108/ILS-03-2017-0022.

Rienties & Toetenel, 2016. The impact of learning design on student behaviour, satisfaction and performance: A cross-institutional comparison across 151 modules. Computers in Human Behavior, 60, pp.333–341.

The Open University (2014) Policy on Ethical use of Student Data for Learning Analytics. Milton Keynes. Available at:

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