Learning analytics is the analysis of educational data, including data about learner and teacher activities, to identify patterns of behaviour and provide actionable information to improve learning and learning-related activities. Tutors can utilise this information to customize the educational space, optimize the learning resources and activities, and personalize the student experience.
Taking related work into consideration, in collaboration with Dr. Cat Grafton from the School of Arts and Humanities, we decided to design our approach around three principles:
- Specialised procedures such as data analysis, synthesis and modelling should be carried out in the background.
- Utilize the ability to download Moodle logs in Excel format, in order to simplify the process of exporting data from Moodle and importing it for analysis.
- The system interface should be simple, highlighting useful information, suggesting conclusions, and supporting decision making through meaningful data visualization. Visualizing information is a form of knowledge compression (McCandless, 2012).
Image: Learning Analytics Tool Screenshot (click on image to view larger)
The main goal of our project is to enhance the awareness of academics by providing an overview of student behaviours in the online course. This new awareness can then be used to optimize the online course space, enrich the student experience and generate new discussions around individual, group or average student routines and patterns of behaviour.
Tutors can experiment with different combinations of metrics such as total page views, unique users, unique actions, IP addresses, unique pages, average session length and bounce rate. Furthermore, the software avoids the limitations of Moodle by allowing the definition of date ranges and the selection of individuals or groups of students.
Future work could include transferring the developed offline functionality to an online Moodle plugin and increasing system intelligence to allow the production of meaningful and actionable suggestions with regards to set target goals.
Moodle has a large and diverse community with over 1 million registered users in 231 countries, making it the most popular open source learning management system. It is therefore part of our commitment, to release the functionality we have and will be developing to the wider research and academic community.
Interested parties are invited to contact Dr. Andreas Konstantinidis (email@example.com), or attend one of our relevant CPD sessions, for a chance to try out the developed functionality. We welcome collaborations and are open to feedback and suggestions.