R & D project

Enhancing the tools for UK universities to improve student engagement

We’re upgrading our learning analytics platform, making it faster, more efficient and easier to use.

A teacher supportively discusses attendance with a student.


Expected outcome:

Service development

We want to make learning analytics available to the entire HE sector by supporting providers through the readiness, onboarding and customer success phases of the service with our expertise and sector knowledge.

Our redeveloped platforms will offer solutions to your problems around supporting student retention, wellbeing and success:

  • Prioritising those students who need support now
  • Quick and easy capturing of timetabled and non-timetabled attendance
  • Recording and managing interventions
  • Bringing all critical student information into a single platform
  • Flexible reporting for compliance, business information and measuring impact

Understanding learning engagement

Our current learning analytics service aims to identify students who are disengaging with their learning and require support. It supports institutions to make data-led interventions leading to improved student retention, outcomes and wellbeing.

Core data sources, available through the dashboards are:

  • Attendance at taught sessions
  • Virtual learning environment usage
  • Assessment submission

Data is processed to provide an overall student engagement score, which enables tutors to identify those most at risk and intervene, offering relevant support.

Through self-directed engagement with the app, students can take control of their learning journey, understanding their engagement relative to peers and recording their attendance.

Starting the analytics journey

The learning analytics journey started in 2015. It was a co-design project with the HE sector responding to the growing requirement to understand student engagement from a support and compliance perspective.

At the same time, HE was getting excited about the wider possibilities of using data and we ran a series of analytics labs to encourage the sector to get creative and start using data to solve real world problems.

Out of this picture came the Jisc LA pathfinders: University of South Wales, Greenwich and Gloucestershire. The Data Explorer staff dashboard and Study Goal student app went live in 2018.

We also published a code of practice, establishing a clear legal and ethical framework. This has been widely adapted as the basis of institutional analytics policies. The senior managers guide explains the building blocks for implementing learning analytics and is a recommended starting point for a business case. Both have been updated in 2023.

What’s included in the upgrade?

We are upgrading the learning analytics platform and service to the highest standard. By the end of the Summer 2024, we aim to significantly improve the user experience, speed up processing times and deliver enhancements to these core areas:

  • Data validation: check data quality, highlight issues and provide solutions
  • System integration: integrations developed with all major virtual learning environments, timetabling systems and attendance monitoring solutions
  • Roles and permissions: access to the right data for the right staff
  • Onboarding and user documentation: learning analytics experts with deep sector experience guide you through the successful implementation supported by high-quality user documentation
  • Student engagement metrics calculations: algorithms co-designed with our community. Learning data is metricised with the parameters set by you
  • Data visualisations and clarity of information: data is transformed rather than just visualised, providing calls to action and deeper understanding
  • Configuration and customisation: your business language and your branding
  • Register and event creation: hybrid ready, zero infrastructure attendance monitoring. Both timetabled and event creation – module linked, drop-in events or one-to-ones
  • Reporting and data export: it is your data, access it in the way that suits your business requirements. Standard in-system reports, data-drops or API export into your BI solutions

Our improvement project is underpinned by continuous feedback and collaboration from our user community.

Your trusted partner in learning analytics

Upgrading learning analytics has allowed us to implement best-in-class controls on how data flows within the system and the way users access it.

We have also developed a data governance toolkit (accessible to customers) comprised of guidance and templates that allow customers to easy deliver data protection impact statements, privacy notices, and other documentation that will build trust within your institution.

Next steps

Wellbeing and curriculum analytics are significant areas of focus for the future. We have been investigating these in collaboration with the sector and plan to start developing new features over the coming 12-24 months.

We would also like understand how students use learning analytics and take control of their learning journey. Our student app and other dashboards feed data back but we would like to know how this needs to be presented to provide maximum value and support.

Get involved

Get in touch at help@jisc.ac.uk or contact your relationship manager for more information.

Meet the project team

  • James Hodgkin

    James Hodgkin

    Head of analytics, Jisc
  • Headshot of Jim Keane

    Jim Keane

    Data engineering solutions manager and senior technical consultant
  • Rachel Glynn

  • Kerr Gardiner

    Senior consultant - analytics