Blogseries Learning Analytics part 3

How can we make learning analytics appealing to teachers?

As we have expressed in previous blogs in this series, learning analytics can bring various advantages for teachers and mentors. Yet, after conducting a questionnaire upon the usage of learning learning analytics, only 13% of teachers responded that they would like to use learning analytics. Knowing that learning analytics is not used to its full potential, we see that the following steps need to be taken:

  1. Make learning analytics understandable and transparent
  2. Make learning analytics relevant for the teacher
  3. Let teachers be in control

Currently, only 13% of teachers would like to use learning analytics.

Initially, it is necessary that teacher trust the data and models used in learning analytics. Currently, learning analytics may appear to teachers as a development which will take over their job. If we make learning analytics understandable and transparent it will no longer be seen as a treat but rather as an opportunity. Learning analytics tools are unlikely to capture all subtle aspects of the interaction between student and teacher and cannot replace the classroom experience. Judging students motivation, supporting students with their individual issues, or engaging with a group of students are examples where teachers are irreplaceable. Explaining and showing where and how learning analytics can support the teacher is the first step towards usage in education.

Secondly learning analytics outcomes should always be relevant to the teachers. Learning analytics is strong in identifying possible gaps or points of improvements due to the automatic reviewing student and lecturer input. Learning analytics tools should convert these large amount of data into tangible, relevant and actionable insights. Continuously discussing the outcomes with teachers and incrementally improving them makes sure that only relevant insights are created which can and will be used by teachers. These actionable reports gives lecturers the opportunity to continuously improve their course material and teaching methods.

In practise learning analytics is an easier way of evaluating at student, teacher and course level. By using learning analytics students receive continuous feedback, which would not be demanded from the teachers. Moreover, the teacher himself would receive frequent evaluation from the student too, leading to a more reflective working environment.

Applying learning analytics leads to continuous improvements in education.

While mentioning relevancy, learning analytics can be seen as something more relevant for the university research center, rather than the teachers themselves. Bringing the concept from board room to classroom is one of the possible solutions how to avoid this perception. Therefore it is important that the teacher do not receives just the reports, but are also involved in the process of making these reports. Ideally the teachers could create these reports themselves easily. Therefore learning analytics tools should always have the option where teachers can easily create their own reports, analyse their own data and share the results with their collegues.

By taking these steps we believe that more and more teachers will not only see the benefits of learning analytics, but they will use them actively to improve their teaching. This will also help teachers to escape the “one-size-fits-all” framework and replace it with a more personalized way of teaching per student. In this way, teachers will be able to create a climate of even more critical awareness, creativity, and collaboration.

This blog is part three of our blog series Learning Analytics. We are very interested in your opinion and experiences, please let us know!