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Learning analytics

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Graham Healing
27 November 2014

The next eLearning Community event is very timely as it brings together four speakers who will provide different perspectives on learning analytics which is generating enormous interest.  Within the Open University this approach is used to inform student interventions and to support student progression: the event also includes discussion of the latest international  research outside the university. 

Date: 9th December 2014

Time: 10:00 – 12:30

Location: Library Seminar Rooms 1 & 2

Feel free to attend all or some of this event.


  • 10:00 – 10.30      Correlations, clusters and creativity: What can learning analytics tell us about learning design? - Bart  Rienties    

While substantial progress has been made in terms of predictive modeling in the learning analytics and technology-enhanced learning community, one element that is often ignored is the role of learning design. Learning design establishes the objectives and pedagogical plans which can be evaluated against the outcomes captured through learning analytics. However, no empirical study is available linking learning designs of a substantial number of courses with usage of Learning Management Systems and learning performance. Using cluster- and correlation analyses, in this study we compared how 87 modules were designed at the Open University UK, and how this impacted (static and dynamic) LMS behavior and learning performance. Our findings indicate that academics seem to design modules with an “invisible” blueprint in their mind. Our cluster analyses yielded four distinctive learning design patterns: constructivist, assessment-driven, balanced-variety and social constructivist modules. More importantly, learning design activities strongly influenced how students were engaging online. Finally, learning design activities seem to have an impact on learning performance, in particular when modules rely on assimilative activities. Our findings indicate that learning analytics researchers need to be aware of the impact of learning design on LMS data over time, and subsequent academic performance.

  • 10.30 – 11.00      SEP Analytics Project: Changing the way we use analytics to drive student success - Kevin Mayles

The Analytics Project is part of the Study Experience Programme and aims to develop the university’s capacity for using analytic tools and insights to systematically drive up student retention and progression through targeted and evidence based intervention. The presentation will provide an overview of the work-streams within the project and of the engagement with CAUs and Student Support Teams starting to take place. This includes developing a new methodology for testing the success of changes we might make to our modules and qualifications or interventions we make with students, creating new interactive visuals of data on student retention and progression, exploration of the use of predictive models to give us timely insight into the risk of student drop-out, using more real-time feedback from students, generating greater insight on the success of our learning designs, forming the right communities of practice to learn from each other, prototyping analytics-based student tools and doing all of this within an ethically sound framework.

  • 11:00 – 11:15      Coffee
  • 11:15 – 11:45      Learning analytics – ethical considerations - Sharon Slade

The harvesting and analysis of student data via a learning analytics approach offers higher education institutions significant opportunity to intervene in a timely and targeted way by identifying students who may be at risk of not meeting their study goals. However, the increasing use of learning analytics to drive student support has also raised a number of concerns around issues such as data privacy, informed consent and labelling. This session aims to introduce some of the current thinking in this area and how ongoing work at the OU aims to address existing concerns.

  • 11:45 – 12:15     Learning Analytics: international dimensions - Doug Clow         
  • 12.15 -  12.30      Discussion/close


Unfortunately this event was not recorded. OU staff can catch up with other eLC events by visiting Stadium


If you plan to attend, have any queries or wish to suggest a future event, please email

Details of future eLC events will be made available nearer each session and can also be found along with details of previous events, slides, notes and/or recordings on Cloudworks.

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