Your institution collects and analyses data to inform the decisions it makes. Quantitative information is relatively easy to gather, and academic analytics is a critical aspect of business intelligence.
Our business intelligence guide includes a section on the use of data and considers the choices institutions have as to which activities to track, and how the data will be analysed and used.
Enhancing processes and experiences
Learning analytics uses data about students and their activities to help institutions understand and enhance educational processes and support. It may also help your institution track and improve student attainment and retention.
Learner analytics may include specific student data or that gathered from anonymised collections to consider educational experiences more generally.
Your institution will have to consider how it deals with sensitive data and should create a policy that articulates and handles any ethical issues arising from this.
Measuring student interactions
Social network analysis has emerged as a popular measure of student interactions online but is less useful for campus-based students, where the majority of interactions take place face-to-face.
Our code of practice for learning analytics considers some of the challenges institutions face in taking responsibility for this work, and how they can manage and integrate these mechanisms.
Assessment analytics can be considered a part of learning analytics but is emerging as a separate area of activity. It has the potential to provide additional feedback for staff and for learners, but the sensitivity of the data it collects means this needs careful management.
For online learning analytics, your institution may need to review existing policies and develop new mechanisms to deal with different kinds of data. In particular, the ownership and use of data gathered from non-registered students can present a specific challenge.
Specific online activities can be tracked and illustrate engagement, for example showing how much a class uses a hashtag, or how many comments were made on student blogs.
Your institution can incorporate tracking mechanisms within learning content to ascertain how much they are being used, by who andto a lesser extent how.
You can also use online content analytics data to support arguments for scaling up online learning approaches.
|Barriers||What you can do|
|Staff lack skills to interpret analytics||Provide staff training and support|
|Use specially trained centralised teams to analyse data across departments|
|Expectation that analytics can provide more intelligence data than it can in reality||Conduct events to engage staff and make them more aware of this|
|Provide staff training and support|
|Students are not clear about the purpose of tracking activities||Reassure and educate students as to the benefits and purpose of tracking activities|
|Develop a code of practice for staff and students to clarify what is being captured and why|