Thursday, 11 February 2016

My learning dashboard is my personalised teacher!

Imagine a learner dashboard for a year 5-8 student that provided personalised learning activities in all core subjects, offering instant feedback regarding progress and achievement, was self –monitoring, encouraged reflection on performance and increased learner motivation!

I am very excited at the development of learning dashboards and the potential of visual learning analytics. In information technology (IT), a dashboard is a user interface that, somewhat resembles an automobile's dashboard which organises and presents information in a way that is easy to read:

However, a computer dashboard is more likely to be interactive than an automobile dashboard (unless it is also computer-based) (TechTarget definition).

Long & Siemens, 2011, tell us:

The emerging field of learning analytics involves the analysis of data about learners and their activities to inform the enhancement of teaching and learning practices and environments.

The field of learner analytics is developing at a fast pace and can already offer, through programmes such as Go-Lab, Kahoot and tricider, the following:
  • ·      Capture and analyse verbal and physical collaborative learning interactions;
  • ·      Capture student activity on a meter showing awareness and self-reflection;
  • ·      Monitor online student networking;
  • ·      Record student viewpoints;
  • ·      Record questions asked by students;
  • ·      Record responses to quizzes;
  • ·      Record participation levels;
  • ·      Track time spent on tasks;
  • ·      Track resources used for tasks;
  • ·      Provide overviews both individually and groups of students regarding phases of learning and time spent in each phase;

Learner analytics has the very real potential to offer so much in the near future. For example, EdTech companies are developing tools that collect data about the student’s state of mind and mood, and then customise the learning experience based on that. Collecting data about posture, heart rate, facial expression and pupil dilation can indicate various states of mind such as frustration or confusion. In response the programme may then offer words of encouragement, slow down the pace of the lesson or spend more time unpacking a concept for greater understanding.

On the other hand, if the student is on track and in a positive state of mind the software can offer more challenging questions and offer praise for progress made (sourced from Instant personalised, meaningful feedback! 

Offering timely, quality feedback to the learner has an effect size of 0.73 and is regarded as having a positive influence on student achievement (Hattie, 2009, Visible Learning). The ability for all learners in a classroom to receive pertinent feedback at crucial points in their learning is a practice all teachers strive for but often the realities of the class size and demands of learners impede this happening.

The development of learner analytics may offer a way to ensure feedback is personalised, meaningful and timely leading to high levels of engagement and success. The benefit to the teacher is immense as they will have quality time with students focused on enabling learning pathways, advising, coaching, ensuring learning is manageable, productive and timely, and helping students to maximise their potential.

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