Learning analytics can be defined as “the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of data about learners in their context, for purposes of understanding and optimizing learning and the environment in which it occurs” (Siemens et. Al). Whereas past research relied to a large extent on students’ self-reports of how they learn in self-study, the recent evolution of web-based learning and the possibility of tracking students’ online behaviour offers promising new ways of measuring actual self-study activities.
By recording a learner’s online traces in educational materials and analysing the data, learning and teaching can be improved.
- HE institutions can assess performance collecting data on retention and success (also called Academic Analytics)
- Patterns of learning habits can be unveiled (see also Educational data mining)
- Course developers can improve current courses
- Teachers and support staff can undertake pedagogic interventions
- Learners can reflect on their achievements and patterns of behaviour in relation to others.