Learning analytics for instructors

Illustration says LMS analytics for instructors

Learning analytics is the use of data to improve learning outcomes. The focus of learning analytics is to provide actionable information that can improve teaching and learning. A strategy for using learning analytics may include multiple levels such as course, department or organization. Data analytics tools are now being featured on the Blackboard Home page. For example, Blackboard quiz “Question Analysis” provides statistics on question quality and overall student performance. This data helps instructors to recognize questions that might be poor discriminators of student performance.

Learning analytics can be categorized into progressive levels of maturity:

  • Descriptive — What happened?
  • Diagnostic — Why did it happen?
  • Predictive — What will happen?
  • Prescriptive — How can we make it happen?

Most instructors will start with Descriptive analytics to find out what is happening in their course, keeping in mind that data gaps exist, and data often represents a snapshot of reality. Data gaps often lead to survivorship bias and possible equity considerations. 

The initiative of data democratization includes helping instructors identify reports and dashboards that can be viewed often to validate data, make it readily available when it may be useful, and to promote data literacy. 

Blackboard offers a course within their Academy program: “Getting started with Learning Analytics.” 

About this course

The “Getting Started with Learning Analytics” course provides educators with an opportunity to gain a fundamental understanding of the field and the competencies required to get started. This practical course takes educators on a journey to appreciate what is meant by learning analytics, its relevance, purpose, and tensions from an educator perspective, and how it actually works and is applied to some common themes of relevance. The course content is not tied to any specific Learning Management System and is designed to simplify the more technical aspects of learning analytics and frame its application in ways that are meaningful for educators. This course is specifically designed for educators, teaching support staff, and learning or instructional designers working in, or intending to work in, an organization or institution that provides learning and would like to gain a fundamental understanding of how learning analytics can inform teaching and learning practices and efforts toward continuous improvement.

Content outline:

  1. Introduction to Learning Analytics
  2. Applying Learning Analytics to Common Themes of Teacher Inquiry
  3. Mechanics of Learning Analytics
  4. Learning Analytics in Practice: Case Studies
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