Understanding Learning Analytics

At this age and time, the quality of education cannot be determined by assessment scores alone—whether online or classroom learning—hence, the need for learning analytics. Teachers need to understand the learning capacity of their students while inculcating knowledge and helping them reach their goals. Companies have also been utilizing data-based learning analytics to make smart business decisions. This explains that learning analytics goes beyond the educational sector. 

There are two main categories of analytics used for educational purposes: Teaching analytics analyzes the teaching design by looking at a teacher’s lesson plans and reflecting on its effect on students. Learning analytics collects and measures student data and analyzes how teachers can refine the learning experience to make it more effective for the student.

However, we will briefly discuss learning analytics and the need for the educational sector to fully adopt this technique to improve knowledge delivery. 

Learning Analytics and its importance in education

The definition of Learning Analytics varies, but one of the most cited definitions comes from SOLAR, The Society for Learning Analytics Research:

Learning analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis, and reporting of data about learners and their contexts, for purposes of understanding and optimizing learning and the environments in which it occurs.

With learning analytics tools, teachers can have a detailed report about students and their performance and then design an effective teaching plan. In other words, learning analytics helps teachers identify the right method of knowledge delivery, starting from a topic choice to their disposition and general approach. 

Also read: Choosing effective Teaching Aids for classroom activities

Importance of learning analytics in education

Below are three reasons to utilize learning analytics in education.

  • It is used to Identify students’ academic prowess

With detailed insight into the performance of each student, teachers can identify students who fail to complete tasks on time. Or those who require extra attention and multiple attempts to pass a test. Earlier, the only way to measure a student’s performance and understanding were via assessment scores, as scoring high marks in class was of utmost priority. 

But, with more emphasis on understanding concepts and examples than rote learning, teachers now want to ensure that knowledge delivery is less mechanical and more detailed. And since the learning analytics report is based on different evaluations, it gives a complete view of students’ learning activity and performance at the beginning of the year/term, during classes, exams/tests, and at the end of the year/term.

  • Helps to monitor students’ engagement level

You can monitor the level of engagement in your classroom by taking a look at the analytics report. The time students spend on a course/subject is a good indicator of how engaging the content is. You can also get insights into the time each student spends on a particular chapter by using a learning analytics tool.

Understanding Learning Analytics

The report can be further broken down into which content they have viewed; for example, how many times have they watched the video, how many links they have clicked, and the number of times the audio file has been played. Teachers can also add multimedia elements to an ebook to make it more interactive. So, knowing the number of times students have engaged with these elements will help you understand if they need it or not.

  • Allows teachers to provide realistic lesson plans

After identifying each student’s academic strength, teachers can use the analytics report to create customized lesson plans or integrate learning resources to accommodate individual differences. Some students might be quick learners, while some may take longer to retain information. But with ebooks or other resources, students can study at their own pace. 

In other words, a teacher can provide realistic lesson plans to each student based on their strengths and weaknesses. This may be tasking on the part of the teacher, but it is an effective way to ensure that every student is encouraged to learn. And there is every likelihood that individual differences may not be much. Teachers can also modify their teaching style in some cases.

Also read: The Future of Educational Robotics

Different frameworks within learning analytics

Here are three main frameworks within learning analytics. 

Descriptive Analytics 

This framework takes the student’s past data, analyzes it, and finds patterns to improve the student’s learning progress. Descriptive analytics also allows teachers to make strategic decisions on the best teaching style for each student. For example, a teacher can use descriptive analytics to find out how much a class knows about a lesson. 

And after analyzing the data, the teacher might find effective strategies to reach more students. Schools can build descriptive analytics tools into a teacher’s management system. Classtime is a great tool for descriptive analysis, as it allows educators to export a PDF insights report for each session on the app.

Predictive analytics

As the name implies, the predictive analysis offers insights into the future. This framework uses students’ past and current data to determine what is likely to happen next. It also reveals ways to help at-risk students and the probability of a low-performing student performing well in the future. 

Prescriptive analytics

This framework provides teachers with alternative suggestions to improve teaching, and data to make realistic decisions. Based on the student data collected, the analytics tool generates suggestions on different educational resources and tools to utilize to make a greater impact on students. 

Conclusion

While analyzing students’ data is important, it is also necessary to keep students’ personal information safe. And in the next article, we will discuss some learning analytics tools that teachers could utilize. Teachers can also periodically send the analytics reports of students to their parents or guardians to enable them to contribute to the child’s development at home. In all, teachers should remember that data analysis does not entirely influence students’ learning experience. It is the effort of teachers and their teaching style that makes the difference. 

 

Understanding Learning Analytics

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