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Beyond Counting Clicks: Validating Learning Analytics to Support Student Success

What factors most strongly predict student completion of courses, how can these factors be tracked in the form of learning analytics data, and how can learning analytics help guide policy and practice? Amidst increasing pressure to hold higher education institutions accountable for economic value to students, new methods are being sought to measure and ensure educational practices and outcomes. Although numerous studies have found no significant difference in outcomes between classroom-based and online course delivery, fully online courses enable new research opportunities via the collection of learner interaction data on an unprecedented scale. Learning analytics based on this data have been proposed as possible means of formative and summative learning assessment as well as program evaluation. However, proposed learning analytics must be validated against agreed-upon outcomes before they can be used to aid learners or inform policies. These outcomes must be aligned with the curriculum and pedagogy models in use at the institution. My research seeks to determine effects of quantifiable aspects of course design and instructor presence on student engagement in online learning, and subsequently on completion by students of online courses. These results will be used to help inform institutional policies, recommendations for individual teaching practices, and suggestions for further development of core learning management system features.

Presented by...

Elizabeth Dalton
Elizabeth Dalton
Moodle System Administrator/Learning Analyst
Granite State College

Elizabeth Dalton is a doctoral student in Education at the University of New Hampshire, where she attempts to interpret the numbers of quantitative research using a variety of metaphors of human experience and learning. She is also the Moodle system administrator at Granite State College, a public college focusing on the needs of adult students, where the majority of enrollments are in fully online courses hosted in Moodle. Sometimes she teaches college courses in statistics, in which she always learns a lot from her students.


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Elizabeth Dalton
Last modified Wednesday, December 2, 2015, 6:10 PM
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Your educational sector: College/University
Roles in which you usually use Moodle: Teacher
Moodle Administrator
Instructional Designer
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Type of presentation: Research presentation (30 or 45 min)
Relevant to audience from which sectors: K-12
Relevant to audience in which roles: Teacher
Moodle Administrator
Instructional Designer
Course needed: Yes
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