Supporting students’ basic psychological needs and satisfaction in a blended learning environment through learning analytics

Ameloot, Elise; Rotsaert, Thijs; Ameloot, Thomas; Rienties, Bart and Schellens, Tammy (2023). Supporting students’ basic psychological needs and satisfaction in a blended learning environment through learning analytics. Computers & Education (Early access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2023.104949

Abstract

In designing a blended learning environment (BLE), a key challenge is to ensure students have a motivating and satisfactory learning experience in both online and face-to-face components. This study addresses this challenge by investigating the impact of using learning analytics (LA) to support students' autonomy and competence needs within a BLE context. Specifically, it examines the effect of teachers sharing LA reports with students on their basic psychological needs and satisfaction in a blended university-based teacher education course. The quasi-experimental study employed a mixed-method approach and spanned two months (N = 348). In the experimental condition, teachers provide specific LA information to students and adjust face-to-face instruction accordingly, while the control group does not receive these adaptations. The findings show that students are generally satisfied with the adapted learning environment, recognizing the value of teachers' LA-based adaptations. Results regarding students' basic psychological needs vary depending on the face-to-face workshop subject. This study contributes to the existing literature by highlighting how teachers' LA-based adaptations positively influence students' satisfaction with the learning environment, fulfilling their psychological needs. It underscores the significance of thoughtful BLE course design and provides recommendations for effective LA utilization in university settings. Based on the findings, several recommendations emerge. Data collection should prioritize group-level anonymity to ensure privacy. Digital learning platforms should provide clear and concise data visualizations to facilitate effective communication between teachers and students. Teachers should leverage LA insights to adapt face-to-face activities in the BLE. Clear guidance should be available to support teachers in utilizing LA effectively.

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