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Access to technology in schools has increased dramatically over the past several years, and in turn teachers have had to think differently about their instructional practice. With ubiquitous computing, students access information, create information, share information, and communicate with peers without the confines of time and space (Glazatov, 2012). Teachers are faced with the challenge of identifying instructional practices that integrate technology into the learning process, but more importantly they are faced with the challenge of understanding and evaluating how technology as an instructional resource interacts with other aspects of the instructional design process (Glazatov 2012).
Learning analytics is “...the use of analytics techniques to help target instructional, curricular, and support resources to support the achievement of specific learning goals” (Radu, I.r., 2017, p. 509). Analytics has been successfully used in other settings outside of education to support operational decision making. Ultimately, the goal of analytics is to provide the user with information and data to make informed decisions to improve performance (Radu, I.r., 2017). The availability of learning analytics in education presents a unique opportunity for teachers to evaluate how technology as an instructional resource interacts with other aspects of the instructional design to impact student learning. The purpose of this participatory action research study, in a middle school setting, was to describe the relationship between the availability of learning analytics and teachers’ instructional practice. The study was based on the following research questions:
● What influence does the availability of learning analytics have on teacher instructional practice?
● Do instructional practices change on an individual student level based on the results of the learning analytics?
Will teachers use learning analytics as part of their formative practices to adjust student learning?
● What factors contribute to the use of the learning analytics and what factors hinder the use of the learning analytics?
The key findings of the study showed when teachers and software application developers collaborate in the development of a tool that meets the needs of classroom teachers, the data collected becomes valuable for the instructional design process. The availability of learning analytics did influence teacher instructional practice. Learning analytics were useful metrics in providing feedback that was used to intervene in student learning. However, the availability of learning analytics did not change the teacher instructional planning for individual students.