In this blog I am reflecting on how analytics, such as those generated by Google Analytics could be useful in education, specifically, what would be most useful to the different people. As always within education I want to start with the learner.
What can numbers tell me about how I learn and about how other learn?
The first part of this question might sound logical but why should a learner care about how others learn as well. I think there are two reasons they should. Firstly, the truth is that often there is an element of competition - maybe not openly amongst peers but certain in the job market and it is therefore helpful to have a sense of where you are in the cohort. Secondly, knowing how a first class student works can provide insight for other students. The latter is something we often lament in neuroscience - when trying to understand how, for example, the brain learns, we look at what happens when it goes wrong. Now this can be truly insightful but it is strange that we do not consider looking at the brains of those who have it mastered! I think there are a number of analytics that could help a learner address these questions:
What analytics can I use enhance my teaching?
I think there is lots of information that a teacher can use from analytics to enhance their practice but I also think that with a class of 200, for example, individual level data will be conflicting and unhelpful so I think for the educator designing material/learning activities group level data is key. For example, the following could help:
What about TEL support staff?
We were asked as part of the activity to consider administrators as well, but in my current role, administrators have little to do with the design of the programme or student support beyond processing attendance and dealing with mitigating circumstances around assessment so instead I chose to consider the role of TEL support staff. For this group there is some potentially useful data that could inform high-level design of the online learning resources we offer, such as:
I think the key with analytics is that all data should be available to any role but that it is sensible to first provide the relevant data to specific individuals. If they then wish to delve a little deeper then it may be appropriate to share, for example, data you would normal reserve for TEL support staff with the educator. Of course, this would probably not be necessary if teaching and learning was co-constructed by all three of these key roles.