Just over two years ago some colleagues and I wrote up some initial exploration of the logs from the different Learning Management Systems (LMS) used by a university. The initial explorations included:
- An initial examination of feature adoption.
Between the two LMS there were broadly different adoption patterns which appeared to be tied to the nature of the systems and how they were developed. One of the systems had adoption levels well above levels reported elsewhere.
- Looking to see if there was a link between the level of student activity on the LMS and final grades.
We found that for one class of students the link existed. The more they used the LMS, the higher their grade. But for another class of students, this relationship did not hold.
- A quick look to see if factors such as academic staff participation or curriculum design effected student participation.
For example, if academic staff participation (number of posts on forum) was high then the link between student activity and final grade existed. However, if academic staff participation was very low, then the top ranked students (based on final grade) did not use the LMS.
We were simply trying to explore the vast volumes of data generated by LMS usage to see if any useful information could be generated. Mainly because it seemed that the institution simply wasn’t using this information in anyway. Instead decisions were being made with little idea of how the LMS was actually being used.
I left the institution not long after that work. My understanding is that it hasn’t improved its use of the LMS data (I guess there remains a question about whether or not the information stored in the LMS can be used effectively). This is in spite of the increase work around academic analytics.
I’m wondering, are there any universities that are actively using LMS data to improve decisions? If so, what information are they using and how?
I’m particularly interested in feature adoption. Are there any universities that are looking at what features of their lovely integrated system are being used?
Why is this important?
Some folk want the LMS to die, I am perhaps amongst that number. However, it appears that almost all University management assume that “e-learning == LMS”. They remain widely used and hence I am interested in seeing how they are used and what that means.
Not to ment that if most university management and IT folk ascribe to the idea of strategic/rational/corporate management – as most do these days – then obviously they are already collecting this information in order to inform their data informed decision making. How else can they make effective judgements about the value of their selection of the LMS and subsequent strategies to encourage its effective use? (Apart from the standard “we made the decision, the decision is good” approach).