Enhancing learning analytics by understanding the needs of teachers #ascilite

Linda Corrin, Gregor Kennedy, Raoul Mulder, Enhancing learning analytics by understanding the needs of teachers

Looking at the needs of lecturers.

LA is still new and emerging.

Research focus is on tools or specific problems.

Note: How does that link to the IRAC idea of affordances being limited.

All this research is being fed down to the teachers. This research is trying to go the other way.

Based on committee work at Uni Melbourne. What do lectuerers really need to know.

  1. What are the key L&T problems/situations that teachers face for which learning analytics could be useful?
  2. What data could be used to address these problems?
  3. ???

Ran focus groups with selected samples of undergraduate degrees. ADL&T and Program Coordinators nominate “important” teachers.


  • student performance – at risk students, attendance, access to learning resources, participation in communication in class settings, performance in assessment

    A lot of staff wanted to see what the data would say about the combination of student performance + engagement. Leading to the concept of the “ideal student”.

    Different groups had different thoughts on whether students should have access to data

    Provision of feedback – combining performance and engagement. How do/can the students interpret the feedback.

  • student engagement –
  • the learning experience – greater understanding of how students develop knowledge; track prior knowledge and its development through learning activities. Data??
  • quality of teaching and the curriculum – automated textual analysis of messages students sending to student support services/discussion forums; formative and summative assessment to identify areas for review; access to support resources
  • administrative functions associated with L&T – assesment of consistency of student placements; enrolment and profiling tutorial groups; tracking safety requirements for field trips; student selection of units


  • needs not currently met by available presentations – level of detail; timing; multiple data sources
  • Skills and time to interpret
  • How to measure learning
  • privacy/ethics
  • Impact on curriculum design – i.e. management saying you must use tool X so we can measure


  • professional development on LA
  • policy guidelines


Interesting findings but limited by the constraints of the “requirements analysis” process. i.e. the assumption that people can think of all the factors in a situation where they haven’t had much experience with a system or indeed aren’t in the process of using a system. Especially given the early comments that the learning analytics field itself is still at an early stage of development.

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