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Strategic planning for online learning
Strategic planning for online learning

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4.4 Learning analytics

Learning analytics is the use of data about pupils and about the context in which they are operating, in order to help those pupils and improve educational processes. Learning analytics is not the kind of activity that takes place, for example, in examining school finance or predicting pupil numbers. Learning analytics is about the learning, how to enhance learning for individual or groups of learners and use these analytics to improve learning outcomes.

A photograph of two people studying some calculations with a calculator and notepad.
Figure 11: Learning analytics

Schools have access to data from a number of difference sources, these are called learning metrics, for example: from the virtual learning environment, attendance monitoring systems and the pupil records system. These metrics can produce composite metrics; for example, an indicator of a pupil’s overall engagement with their learning. You might combine the number of times they logged into the learning platform with their attendance and assessment, and thus produce an overall metric of engagement. This whole process combined with the interpretation of those metrics and the interventions that you might take with individual pupils to try and help them, for example, if they are at risk of dropout or poor results.

Looking at pupil engagement with learning and trying to understand how pupils learn is not something new for School Leaders, but what learning analytics does provide is a whole new set of data sources and a more in-depth opportunity to analyse pupil learning and engagement. Never before have School Leaders had the ability to focus on pupil’s individual activity in the way that is now possible through online learning, which provides increased data points to extract pupil data.

Activity 5

Timing: 20 minutes

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, all lessons within The Community Schools Trust, have been delivered online, live, using a combination of Dynamic Progress Reporting System and Google Meet. The Community Schools Trust share their approach in dynamic progress reporting. Read the case study Dynamic Progress Reporting [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] and make notes on what you think might be the strengths and weaknesses of learning analytics.

Comment

Traditionally, school education has often provided a one size fits all kind of educational experience for pupils. At The Community Schools Trust, using learning analytics, staff have the opportunity to adopt a far more personalised approach, thus providing individual help to pupils, pinpoint those at risk and then employ interventions to try and help those pupils.