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28.02.2020 - 3 min. Read

What do students want in a learning analytics tool?

Last month, students and faculty took part in a key phase of eCampusOntario’s ongoing learning analytics initiative: a sprint designed to gather student insight and understand student learning experiences.

eCampusOntario’s student-facing learning analytics initiative brings together colleges and universities to co-design the blueprint for a learning analytics tool that could meet the needs of students, educators and administrators at Ontario post-secondary institutions. The project will follow a research-based design process, meaning the blueprint will be a starting point to support continued research, analysis, iterations and development.   

Teams from Queen’s University, the University of Waterloo, Western University, Fleming College and Ryerson University participated in the sprint, with each team including students, educators, IT professionals and more. Emily Carlisle-Johnston, eCampusOntario’s Digital Program Lead, helped facilitate the sprint.

“This project has the potential to help students take ownership of their own learning experience using data,” says Emily. “During the sprint, we focused on asking students about learning experiences they’ve found valuable, learning challenges they’ve faced and how data related to their learning may have helped in those situations.”

Upon analyzing the experiences and ideas generated over the sprint, project leads identified key themes that will shape the direction of the blueprint. Students in attendance repeatedly suggested a tool where they could input personal learning goals and have the system track progress towards these goals using learning analytics.

“I think that students’ access to learning analytics gives them the resources they require to be successful. Students need access to their own data so they can fully understand where they are and what they need to do in order to find success in college or university,” says Zoe King, a business administration student at Fleming College who took part in the sprint. “This project is an opportunity to come together and improve the learning experience for the next generation of students,” she says.

The next step is to identify what type of data could be collected and how it might be presented. Ultimately, the tool will be rooted in theory, informed by research, and guided by a high-level framework developed by project teams. View the framework to learn about the values, principles, and guiding goals informing the initiative’s work.

In collaboration with eCampusOntario and the project teams, consultants from D2L will produce the blueprint. For more information about the student-facing learning analytics initiative and other educational technology innovations, contact Emily Carlisle-Johnston.