Learning analytics for educators: a toolkit

Analytics are often considered to be a management tool for evaluating performance or a return on investment. However, in education and L&D, they can also be valuable reflective aides to assist with immediate and longer term mentoring of learners.

This workshop session, from an ALT East Midlands events at the University of Northampton, was in collaboration with Laura Hollinshead (University of Derby).

Our goal was to highlight the different use cases for using analytics as an educational tool. These include:

  • Support students to avoid drop out or failure;
  • Gain insights into (mis)conceptions and knowledge;
  • Explore students’ disciplinary knowledge;
  • Give students a sense of how they are performing;
  • Identify and address concepts students struggle with;
  • Monitor online discussion to focus teaching on pertinent issues;
  • Reflect on one’s own teaching and student engagement.

(Based on Gunn et al, 2016. ’ The missing link for learning from analytics’)

The exercise involved separating delegates into groups, asking them to choose a scenario, and then working through the worksheet to explore all aspects of capturing, analysing and using the data. the image below highlights many of the factors we considered were important.

It is fair to say that this may seem daunting at first glance and the implications for an active teacher having to work through this, either mentally or methodically, might be rather unrealistic

The goal of the exercise was to encourage a creative perspective on actively using available data to improve the student support process. We are often trapped in a view that it is too difficult or somebody else's' responsibility when, in fact, information is readily available.

The exercise was also targeted at learning professionals to highlight the need to consider the utility of data, the integration with other systems, and the potential for sharing amongst staff and student groups, when selecting digital technologies.