Online learning wouldn't be possible without the extensive work that’s been done to improve technical standards. This work allows systems to interact, share data and deliver the technologies that underpin learning. The Centre for Educational Technology, Interoperability and Standards (Cetis) are experts on education technology innovation, interoperability and technology standards.
Whilst your IT, learning technology and library services teams need to engage with such standards, most staff and students will benefit from them without having to engage in the detail.
Course advertising, open educational resources, assessment, content management, searching and delivery, and student data through learning analytics are all supported by technical standards, without these standards being visible.
Our report on learning analytics identifies that student data generated through learning analytics is increasingly important. It provides important intelligence (link to penetrating the market section) to help institutions improve student success, retention rates and learning experiences.
Managed approach to student data
Institutions are having to take a more managed approach to measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of student data, and need to consider ethical as well as technical issues.
Data sources tend to be large institutional administration systems such as student information systems, VLEs, attendance records, library systems or IT systems, with data gleaned from log-ins or student surveys.
Online learning presents challenges as student data may no longer be easily managed by your institution. When students interact with and use non-institutional technologies, you still need to track these activities - this can present technical and ethical problems with permissions.
Once you set up systems properly, learning analytics data can provide valuable evidence that a new approach or intervention is having a positive impact on students.
|Barriers||What you can do|
|Lack of joined-up approaches to technology limits the ability of systems to work together (“interoperability”).||Adopt an institution-wide approach to technological systems to make sure central systems operate efficiently with departmental technologies|
|Identify policies to support interoperability and ensure that staff have enough knowledge and/or support to make informed choices.|
|Student data is scattered across multiple technical and administrative systems|
Carry out an audit of systems and establish a planned approach to improve data collation, management and sharing
|Embed consideration of student data tracking and analysis into all new technological interventions.|
|It is difficult to gather data from non-institutional sources.||Identify ways to collect data and carry out regular data-gathering activities|
|Liaise across departments to identify how to feed their data into central systems|
|Look for technical solutions to manage data collection and gathering.|
- 1 First steps with learning analytics - http://www.slideshare.net/markstubbs/lrt-talks-20130312-cetis
- 2 Learning analytics - www.open.ac.uk/iet/main/research-innovation/learning-analytics