Learning Analytics research in schools at OWD

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At the De Onderwijsdagen (OWD – Education Days) in Rotterdam on November 12 there was a presentation on Learning Analytics research in the schools sector. In a full session room with about 50 professionals from the schools sector I started with an introduction to the LACE project. Then Gerard Veldhuis from the Dutch research institution TNO presented recent research findings on learning analytics with the Schooltas app.

Schooltas is an app that offers learning materials on tablets, laptops or PCs with possibilities for learners to make digital notes, practice and share information. The research focused on the effectiveness and efficiency of this app compared to folio material, but also to discover possibilities of analytics of the logged data. More specific, to see if it was possible to recognize learning strategies of individual learners and make recommendations based on that, creating adaptive personalized learning.

To start with Gerard showed the following interesting overview of elements of learning analytics.

Elements of Learning Analytics - TNO

Elements of Learning Analytics – TNO

Then he explained the research method. The findings are based on the interactions of students from 12 different classes in different levels of secondary education during 48 days using Schooltas and compared to a control group of 6 classes during the same period.

Learning strategies such as the repetition of content, cooperative learning, looking for help, and metacognitive self-regulation were compared to logged data as time spent, the use of making notes and the use of media.

Conclusions

Important conclusions were that the logged data, such as activity and the use of extra information related to learning strategies. Surprisingly, the logged time spent did not relate. Learning strategies also related to school level and to didactics. Although the last is preliminary, only limited (qualitative) research was done into the influence of didactic methods of teachers. Also an important finding is that the effectiveness and efficiency of the Schooltas app is no less than folio material.

The researchers recommend to do more research into which data are meaningful to log and also what didactics from teachers are effective using digital learning materials. Next, only one type of learning material was used for this research (subject geography) and it would be interesting to extend this to other types of learning materials (more adaptive and personalized).

The report will be published soon and when an English summary will become available in time this will also be added to the LACE Evidence Hub.


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About Author

Erwin is a project manager at the Unit Innovation of the Kennisnet Foundation, the public educational organization which supports and inspires Dutch primary, secondary and vocational institutions in the effective use of new technology. Erwin is a designer by background and is specialized in helping schools to improve their innovation skills. His interest is on the intersection of educational philosophy, innovation management, usability and new technology and his field of work includes subjects as design thinking, learning analytics, privacy by design and 21st century skills.

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