This project led by Univ. South Australia, in collaboration with several other universities, has gathered quantitative and qualitative data from a range of stakeholders about their perceptions regarding learning analytics, its potential for the higher education sector, and possible affordances and constraints. Interviews were held with an international panel of learning analytics research experts, learning analytics vendors, international institutional senior managers, and Australian institutional senior managers. A second strand conducted a Delphi like process that elicits opinions on what is required to create sustainable, high impact learning analytics.
This report provides a good snapshot of the state of learning analytics in Australian HE, and an interesting account is emerging around how stakeholders conceive of “the student retention problem”, and hence, what they consider to be appropriate roles for analytics.
Interviews with university senior leadership showed two distinct groups of universities:
- Student Retention Focus: Universities in the first cluster largely identified learning analytics as a process to address student retention, and so tended to adopt a solution-focused model for deploying analytics: buying a technical solution, and providing data to prompt action from teachers for struggling students. Project management was hierarchical with few cross-organisation stakeholders.
- Innovation Focus: In contrast, the second cluster viewed analytics as a way to more deeply understand learning and teaching practices. The models of implementation were more complex and involved a greater diversity of stakeholders. Typically, analytics were viewed as a site for potential disruption and innovation to improve the quality of the student learning experience.