The Possibilities of Learning Analytics

17 Feb

Tony Bates recently posted a history of e-learning/online learning – http://www.tonybates.ca/2012/02/11/stephen-downes-overview-of-e-learning-and-a-little-history-lesson/
It is worth a read, especially if you are interested in understanding the development of e-learning/online learning. The comment from Linda Harasim on Tony’s blog post is also worth a read. Linda argues that “nothing significant has come to our field [e-learning/online learning] over the past decade,” adding that social media have “become quite a distraction in education.”

This is quite an argument, and definitely worth debating. Social media can be distracting, but it does create powerful networks. Instead of social media, Linda suggests educators should focus on the developing field of learning analytics. Learning analytics, Linda writes, could help educators “identify (easy and effective) ways to assess collaborative learning and knowledge building.”

I have not used any specific learning analytics software, but I have used Google Analytics to count the numbers of clicks a training video gets and the duration that learners view the video. This data has informed my instructional approach with additional training videos (shorter in duration and placed on a specific training video webpage).

While learning analytics is still a new field, any approach that has the potential to identify better learning experiences needs to be fully explored. In the meantime, I will be following Linda’s work (although probably not on Twitter!).

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