Whether it is eLearning or classroom learning, one cannot determine the effectiveness of the education provided, only on the basis of assessment scores. Teachers need to understand the learning capacity of their students while imparting knowledge, as opposed to overloading them with information. In order to understand whether the students are really benefiting from the teaching and that they are able to retain the information, there has to be some visible evidence. This is where data-based learning analytics can be leveraged.
Enterprises have been utilizing data based learning analytics for a long time to make smart business decisions and increase their profitability. It is time that the education sector also adapts this technique to improve the knowledge delivery and learning process. Plus, today we’ve got efficient learning analytics tools to collect and process the data with accuracy.
What is Learning Analytics and Why is it Used in Education?
According to Wikipedia, learning analytics is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of data about learners and their contexts, for purposes of understanding and optimizing learning and the environments in which it occurs. Simply put, learning analytics is the collection of data about a student’s academic performance, and analyzing it to derive trends and patterns that reveal areas which need improvement. One of the main reasons why educational institutes use learning analytics tools is to find out potential problem areas of each student and take timely action to address them.
What Role Does Learning Analytics Play in Shaping the Teaching Model?
By looking at a detailed learner analytics report, teachers can identify certain patterns. For example, all students are performing really well in one particular chapter, which could mean that they have understood this chapter well enough. Or you might find that students are spending too much time on one subject, which could mean either it’s an important subject or that they are finding it difficult to understand. Now with this data, teachers can design an effective teaching plan. They can figure out if a certain topic needs to be revised or redesigned so as to make it simpler for the students. Or whether extra attention needs to be given to the student who is seen having trouble with a topic. Thus, analytics can help teachers to design an easy-to-understand course module and devise an effective teaching plan.
Listed below are 5 Ways to Use Learning Analytics in K-12 Education:
1. Track Students Who Are Academically Weak:
With detailed insight into the performance of each student, teachers can identify students who are failing to complete the lessons on time. Or those students who require multiple attempts to clear a test. When the performance results of a few students are poorer than the rest of the class, it is an indication that the student is unable to cope with the pace of the course or that s/he is not able to grasp the concepts properly. You can thus find out students who are at risk of failing in an exam. By paying some extra attention to these students, you can ensure that they do not drop out of school and that they score a good percentage in their exams.
2. Track the Engagement Level of Students:
You can track the level of engagement in your classroom by taking a look at the analytics report. The time students spend on the courseware is a good indicator of how engaging the content is. You can get insights about the time spent by each student on a particular chapter. In order to prevent miscalculations in case students just open the chapter and get busy with some other work, the tool calculates time that they have been active on the app.
The report can be further broken down into which content they have viewed; for example, how many times have they watched the video, the number of times the audio file has been played etc. Multimedia elements are added to an eBook mainly to make it more interactive and engaging. So, tracking the number of times students have engaged with these elements will help you understand if they are really engaging with the content.
3. Provide Customized Lesson Plans:
Every student has a different learning capacity. Some might be quick learners, while some may take a little longer to retain the information. With eBooks, students can study at their own pace. Teachers can use the analytics report to view the learning pattern of each student, and accordingly draft a lesson plan to aid them in their studies. Instructors can recommend or assign additional resources for students, which will eventually help them understand the topics better. Thus, a teacher can provide customized learning plans to each student based on their strengths and weaknesses. This is an effective way to ensure that every student is being encouraged to learn to the best of their abilities.
4. Measure and Compare Students’ Performance using Learning Analytics in Education:
Earlier, the only way to measure a student’s performance and understanding was by way of assessments. Little did it matter whether the students are learning by rote or if they really understood what they are reading, as scoring high marks in class was given more importance. But now, with more emphasis on understanding concepts rather than rote learning, educators want to ensure that the knowledge delivery is effective and is helping the students to learn, and most importantly, retain the information.
A Learning analytics report will give you a complete view of the student’s performance throughout the year. Teachers can compare between the start of the term till the current term and see the changes in their scores and learning activity. This will give them an idea of the areas where the students’ performance has improved and where it still needs improvement. The teachers can then prepare an action plan according to this analysis.
5. Redesign Courses If Needed:
When the analytics report reveals that students are finding a particular topic difficult to understand, educators can either modify their teaching style or they can redesign the course module. Since the content of eBooks is cloud-based, it is easier to update them. Once you make changes to the main content, the same can be replicated in all the other eBooks, saving unnecessary printing costs. So, with this feature, you can update your course modules if you feel that it needs certain amendments. However, this does not imply that you change the contents of your eBook every time you find that students are having difficulty in understanding certain concepts. You also need to analyze your teaching methods and see if you can incorporate something new like augmented reality and make it easier for students to understand the topics.
With an increasing number of schools in the US offering online courses, analytics can be utilized to its maximum potential to improve the effectiveness of the education provided. The K to 12 program is an important phase in a student’s learning journey as it shapes them to become productive and responsible citizens in the future. Hence, teachers must ensure that students are receiving valuable and useful education. An analytics-driven K-12 education will make students more competent, helping them acquire lifelong learning skills. Incorporating learning analytics into K-12 education can help derive actionable information to improve the course module and enhance the learning experience of the students.