Learning Analytics Project (LeAP)
Providing insights to maximise student potential at City
What is learning analytics?
Learning analytics is “the application of analytic techniques to analyse educational data, including data about learner and teacher activities, to identify patterns of behaviour and provide (frequent) actionable information to improve learning and learning-related activities.” (Van Harmelen, M. & Workman, D. (2012). CETIS Analytics Series: Analytics for Learning and Teaching).
Learning analytics uses specialised software that pulls together existing student data from multiple university systems into one central location. By having student data on one central location, staff can obtain a clearer picture of student engagement with educational activities across modules and programmes without having to look at multiple systems. This enables staff to identify students who are at risk of not progressing and provide those students with appropriate, tailored and timely support to help them succeed. This support, also known as ‘interventions’, can be done on an individual or group basis.
How does City use learning analytics?
City’s Learning Analytics Project (LeAP)
City is currently piloting and embedding its learning analytics service and system through the Learning Analytics Project (LeAP), project-managed and worked on by members of the Learning Enhancement and Development (LEaD) team. The project’s current phase will run from 2020-2023. LeAP’s key focus is on how learning analytics and student interventions can be used to understand and support student engagement with their studies, which in turn can lead to better retention and progression of students.
LeAP has a number of connections to and interdependencies with other City work. These include Student Engagement and Attendance Monitoring (SEAM), Student Attainment, and Student Enquiries Case Management (SECM). LEaD, IT and Student & Academic Services work closely together to ensure that requirements and objectives across all areas are taken into consideration.
Phase 1 (2016-2020)
From 2016 – 2020, the team delivered LeAP Phase 1, which aimed to understand how learning analytics could benefit City. Key stakeholders included LEaD, IT, MAfS (Modernising Administration for Students) & Schools. This project involved taking part in the co-design of Jisc’s Data Explorer learning analytics system. The team also ran consultations with staff and students on the use of learning analytics, trialled the Data Explorer system and produced a list of recommendations for moving forward.
Phase 2 (2020-2023)
The current phase of this project is LeAP Phase 2. This will be a 3-year project from 2020-23. This project aims to:
- Pilot and embed a core learning analytics service City-wide with support and training provision, focusing on student engagement.
- Implement Jisc’s Data Explorer learning analytics system and provide access for all relevant City staff (Note: from 2021/22, the Jisc system will not be used for student support purposes. See Current data approach below).
- Create a code of practice and a policy (or amendments to existing policies) to support learning analytics.
- Make recommendations and improvements to the service, based on investigations into interventions, benefits and data sources.
- Support staff in the use of a learning analytics system to design and implement appropriate interventions to support student learning.
- Explore the further potential of learning analytics (e.g. in learning design) through research and evaluation.
Current data approach (Terms 1 & 2, 2021/22)
The Jisc Data Explorer interface is not being used by Schools staff this academic year. The Count Me In Working Group (which oversees and supports student engagement at City) has instead overseen the development of a Student Engagement Report which combines, in an Excel format, downloaded attendance data (from SEAtS) and assessment and virtual learning environment (VLE) data (from Data Explorer). During Terms 1 and 2 of the 2021/2022 academic year, this engagement report will be updated and distributed to Schools on a weekly basis via a limited access folder on Sharepoint. More information about this process can be found in the LeAP Code of Practice.