Data may well be the new oil, however knowing where to start drilling in an institutional context can be challenging. Despite the emergence of the new research discipline of Learning Analytics, a recent study illustrated that within the UK education sector there is still uncertainty and lack of a common, consistent and comprehensive understanding of the term (Jisc, 2015).
Finding a starting point for an institutional approach to developing analytics capabilities is a commonly shared problem in many mainstream HE and FE institutions (Jisc, 2014).
One of the recommendations of the 2015 Higher Education Commission report From Bricks to Clicks, the potential of data and analytics in Higher Education was:
“All HEIs should consider introducing an appropriate learning analytics system to
improve student support / performance at their institution. Any such decision should
be fully informed by an analysis of the benefits, limitations and risks attached.”(p7)
As part of Jisc’s Effective Learning Analytics Programme, UK HE institutions were invited to participate in a discovery phase to help them identify their readiness for implementing learning analytics. Readiness in this context being evaluated through exploration of four pillars of readiness: culture, people, processes and technology infrastructure.
This paper will share the experience of one of the first HEIs to take part in this Discovery phase. The presentation will share our thinking.experiences and challenges from te decision to apply to be part of the discovery phase; to preparing for the onsite visit; to getting key stakeholders involved to our final report, recommendations and progress todate.
Although retention has been seen as a key area for the uptake of learning analytics, it was not our primary driver. Instead, our focus is around finding effective ways to gain more detailed insights into patterns of use of technology for learning and teaching and in overall student engagement.
At the submission date we are in the first stages of acting on the recommendations and instigating a small learning analytics project group. By the time of the conference we anticipate being able to share some initial findings of this group, the data sources we have been working with, initial findings and areas for future development and institutional engagement.
Bailey, P. (2015) What will the discovery phase involve? Available at: https://analytics.jiscinvolve.org/wp/2015/10/05/what-will-the-discovery-phase-involve/ (Accessed: 30 March 2016).
Ferguson, Rebecca (2012). Learning analytics: drivers, developments and challenges. International Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning, 4(5/6) pp. 304–317
H.E.C. (2015) From Bricks to Clicks: The potentail of Data and Analytics in Higher Education. Available at: http://www.policyconnect.org.uk/hec/research/report-bricks-clicks-potential-data-and-analytics-higher-education (Accessed: 30 March 2016).
Sclater, N. (2014) Learning Analytics The current state of play in UK higher and further education. Available at: http://repository.jisc.ac.uk/5657/1/Learning_analytics_report.pdf (Accessed: 30 March 2016).