Learning Analytics in the wild… because people can learn online anywhere, at any time, using multiple tools and resources
Most learning analytics tools provide information about a student’s interactions within one learning environment, such as a Learning Management System (LMS), or eBook reader. But we know that people can learn anywhere, at any time, using multiple tools and resources. We use videos from Youtube, discussions with our friends and colleagues on Facebook, and online communities and fora to learn, as well as more traditional learning environments. Each person builds up a Personal Learning Environment (PLE) which is unique to them and their needs. So learning analytics tools that only collect data from one stand alone system are only ever going to give a limited perspective of a person’s learning. We need ways of collecting data from more of the learning ecosystem, and of making it interoperable, so that we can use the same data analytic tools in analysing it, regardless of where it came from.
But this raises interesting questions about privacy and data ownership… who should have access to this richer dataset? And who gets a say in what is collected?
The CLA toolkit is an open source solution that has been developed as a part of an Australian Government funded Office for Learning and Teaching (OLT) project.
The basic architecture of the CLA toolkit is illustrated alongside. We interface with the APIs of various social media sites to collect data that relates to specific learning activities. The data is then stored in the Experience API (xAPI) educational data standard. This makes it possible to describe data collected from these multiple social learning environments using a common format that enables the reuse of computational tools across multiple media.
Right now the CLA toolkit can collect data from Twitter, Facebook, GitHub, Trello, Slack, and WordPress blogs. Only data that is relevant for a particular learning experience is collected, maintaining a level of student control and privacy. Students have control over what social media sites they link to their CLA toolkit account, and we are in the process of developing user configurable dashboards that will give them control over what information they see as they navigate through different learning tasks.
You can start to learn more about this project and the different issues that arise in developing authentic student facing solutions by investigating the following links:
- The CLA toolkit codebase and the Connected Learning Recipe that describes the data format used in the CLA toolkit.
- Videos from various xAPI Camps are a great place to start learning more about xAPI and how different people are using it around the world, as is the ADL website.
- This report on data interoperability for learning analytics that was delivered by the Learning Analytics Community Exchange (LACE), discusses many of the issues associated with data standards and how they will affect our ability to deliver viable learning analytics solutions.
Key References for the CLA toolkit:
- Kitto, K., Lupton, M., Davis, K., Waters, Z. (2017). Designing for Student Facing Learning Analytics, Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 33(5), 152-168.
- Kitto, K., Lupton, M., Davis, K., Waters, Z. (2016). Incorporating student-facing learning analytics into pedagogical practice. In S. Barker, S. Dawson, A. Pardo, & C. Colvin (Eds.), Show Me The Learning. Proceedings ASCILITE 2016 Adelaide, pp. 338-347.
- Bakharia, A., Kitto, K., Pardo, A., Gašević, D., Dawson, S. (2016), Recipe for success: lessons learnt from using xAPI within the connected learning analytics toolkit. In Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Learning Analytics & Knowledge (LAK16). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 378-382.
- Kitto, K., Bakharia, A., Lupton, M., Mallet, D., Banks, J., Bruza, P., Pardo, A., Buckingham Shum, S., Dawson, S., Gašević, D., Siemens, G., Lynch, G. (2016). The connected learning analytics toolkit. In Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Learning Analytics & Knowledge (LAK16). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 548-549.
- Kitto, K., Cross, S., Waters, Z., Lupton, M. (2015). Learning Analytics beyond the LMS: the Connected Learning Analytics Toolkit. In Proceedings of the Fifth International Conference on Learning Analytics and Knowledge (LAK15). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 11-15.