It’s no secret that sales of activity tracking apps and wearables have boomed, with The Telegraph reporting that over three million fitness trackers are flying off the shelves in the UK each year. From monitoring our fitness and sleep and even our mental reflexes, self-improvement is officially the name of the game.
86% of higher education (HE) students think an activity tracking app for learning and teaching would be helpful, finds our recent survey. Further findings show that 78% of HE students would be happy to have their learning data collected if it improved their grades, and more than half would be happy to have their learning data collected if it stopped them from dropping out (61%).
These findings come as no surprise, as the survey also found that 98% of HE students think that technology is becoming increasingly important in education. A further 76% of HE students surveyed who think technology is becoming increasingly important – think so because it makes life more efficient. It seems clear that students would whole heartedly welcome this self-improvement movement, along with the tech that they use in their everyday lives, into the education sector.
Enter learning analytics. This year, we will be releasing a learning analytics student app, so that students will be able to see how their learning activity compares with others and set targets to do better in their courses. This will not only benefit students, but staff members too, who will be able to view a dashboard showing the learner engagement and attainment of their students, allowing them to better target students who might be struggling with the course, and prevent drop-outs too. The app will also help staff members to better understand how to make learning more effective.
Speaking to Times Higher earlier this year, Ian Fordham, Microsoft UK’s new director of education, said higher education institutions are in a “hybrid” state of adapting technology into their academic offer:
"I think the learning analytics movement in HE is going to become much more significant, tracking students on their learning journey – for example, the amount of money that universities waste on lost students in terms of that journey.
Embedding learning analytics within a university’s tech-enhanced learning environment brings many advantages, including having a single version of the truth where universities have clear data from which to base informed decisions and create intervention plans early to improve an outcome.”
Andy McGregor, deputy chief innovation officer at Jisc said:
"It’s brilliant to see that students are as inspired about the creation of an app to improve their learning experience as we are. The app has the potential to help students take control of their learning progress as well as enabling university staff to continually improve the experience they offer students. With such apps becoming every day in other sectors and industries, it’s time that education reaped the benefits of such technology too.
At Jisc we believe that digital has the power to transform and revolutionise education, and our work with learning analytics is an important step in the right direction"
To support the use of data and analytics, we are working with 50 universities to set up the world’s first national learning analytics service. This system is being developed to include bought-in learning analytics technologies, and Jisc developed solutions. The service will be underpinned by our code of practice, which sets out the responsibilities of organisations to ensure that learning analytics is carried out responsibly, appropriately and effectively.
To get up to speed on learning analytics, as well as our code of practice, you can read our quick guide to understanding your data.