What are we up to with Learning Analytics?
I had the pleasure of being asked by SoLAR (Society for Learning Analytics Research) to do a talk for the first “SoLAR Storm” open webinar on the work we are doing with Learning Analytics.
Storm is SoLAR’s distributed research lab which aims to “facilitate discourse around learning analytics and advance the quality of research in the field”. They hold open webinars on Learning Analytics on the 1st Thursday of every month with invited speakers from industry and research. They are a great way for those of us who work in the education technology business to engage with those involved with Learning Analytics from a more academic perspective.
I really enjoyed being part of the first webinar and thanks to all of you who took the time out to join the session. There was lots of discussion and debate and I received some really useful feedback.
One of the most interesting areas we discussed was what do we mean by student “success”? It is a term which gets used an increasing amount, and a number of Learning Analytics tools have been developed around the notion of predicting the likelihood of success. In order to build a model which can be used to predict success, it requires a definition of success which is quantitative. However, by its very nature “success” is a very qualitative term. I think we need a better definition of success as currently they are focused around academic success – whether the student is likely to achieve a pass or the average grade. We need to view success as a sliding scale ranging from course completion, whether the student passes the course, through to whether the student exceeds the expectation which has been set for them. Indeed I think we need to develop a view of success which takes into account other factors such as course satisfaction.
Have a look at the webinar replay if you want to find out more about what we are doing and have a sneak peak at some screenshots for our Learning Analytics prototype. Note you will need Java installed to replay the webinar. Click on the Playback > Play menu to start the session playback.
Here are the slides I presented during the meeting.