Assess and Monitor Progress Using Learning Analytics

Assess and Monitor Progress Using Learning Analytics

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5106-5.ch006


In this chapter, there will be a presentation of information on learning analytics and how learning analytics can be used to help teachers and administrators manage measurements, collection and analysis of information. Learning analytics is a useful approach for assessing performance and is considered a valuable tool for developing multicultural curriculum. Assessing and monitoring the progress of students using learning analytics, measuring, collecting, analyzing and reporting information that can be useful to improve performance. Following are topics that will be discussed in this chapter; using learning analytics to track progress for each student, collecting, analyzing, measuring and reporting data, plan - setting goals and objectives, utilizing a method for collecting data, reviewing the data and develop a reporting process, using the data collected to improve performance and assessing the information and developing new approaches.
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What Is Learning Analytics

Learning analytics has been defined as “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 (1st Int’l Conf. 2010). (Boulden, 2015, p. 55)

Since monitoring and assessing performance is a key responsibility for an instructor, learning analytics can be a valuable tool for evaluating students in a multicultural and traditional environment. Because of different approaches to monitoring and assessing performance it can often be difficult to select an approach that meets the needs for all students and their performance. Macfadyen and Dawson (2012) noted that “numbers are not enough” (p. 149).

Learning analytic tools can provide a method to assess different areas that can improve not only evaluation of students but can provide an analysis using academic analytics. This method of assessment in which learning analytics is used can help in developing learning activities to match a student’s learning progress. This method of learning can be an important contribution to the designing of differentiated curriculum that works well for all students. The analysis of student’s performance can be useful for teachers as they evaluate curriculum design for a diversified group of students working through simple to complex assignments. Macfaydyen and Dawson (2012) further noted that:

Learning analytics employs sophisticated analytic tools and processes in investigation and visualization of large institutional data sets, in the service of improving learning and education (Brown, 2011; Buckingham Shum & Ferguson, 2011). (p. 149)

An analytic tool can be used to evaluate information at all student levels and be useful from preschool to higher education. The key is to select a tool and a process to match the analytical evaluation for a diversified population of students. Fulantelli and Taibi (2014) noted that:

Learning analytics developed originally in higher education and academic settings, and most of the experiences have focused on the exploitation of learner data stored in Learning Management systems or Virtual Learning Environments. (p. 232)

This information is stored on educational servers and contains large amounts of data used to evaluate learners, the behavior of learners along with improvements to increase learning.

In contrast, an assessment can be used to evaluate traditional methods of assessment and testing. A learning management system can store a lot of information from students and this creates a wealth of information that teachers can use to help improve student performance, develop curriculum and manage a student’s progress.

Making use of learning analytics can give added value to learners as well as educators. Many university courses today consist of a blended approach between classroom lectures and self-regulated learning activities. (Scheffel, Drachsler, Stoyanov, & Specht, 2014, p. 117)

Since the blended approach is used frequently, students and teachers can have the best of both environments, either an online synchronous chat or an asynchronous class or a combination of a face-to-face environment and an online classroom. This can really be beneficial for a differentiated approach to teaching because many different approaches can be presented using a variety of methods. Learning Analytics (LA) is useful for determining the growth in a student’s process for learning along with retention. “LA can help learners to better plan and reflect these activities by becoming aware of their actions and learning processes” (Scheffel, Drachsler, Stoyanov & Specht, 2014, p. 117).

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