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Learning analytics for co-creation and interactive courseware
The educational landscape is evolving quickly, in tandem with society and in response to the challenges presented by today’s workplace (see, e.g. Germaine et al., 2016; Chalkiadaki, 2018). With these shifting expectations for teaching come new requirements for the tools that support the learning process. Educational technology (edtech) can be part of the answer to many of today’s challenges in higher education (Smith and Traxler, 2022). Technology is an enabling force that could unlock unseen potential in the digitally-literate student population. Yet, even with the increasing adoption of digital tools, and the global pandemic that forced teaching online across the world (Traxler et al., 2020), the promise of a significant increase in study performance or effectiveness remains to be realised.
The authors have been working on a European Erasmus+ funded project, entitled “Co-created Interactive Courseware” (CIC), which planned to take a holistic, end-to-end, student-centric approach in improving student experiences and optimising study performance, by uniquely combining three solutions: (1) a social learning environment where students can help each other learn and track their own progress; (2) a fully automated publishing flow where authors can publish their existing (static) courseware and thus create interactive, co-creation-enabled textbooks with zero technical overhead; and (3) a learning analytics engine offering the educator insights into the full learning trajectory of their students.
The project aims to establish the pedagogical backdrop against which these newly available tools could be implemented in future courses, and to create a methodology around co-creation and, crucially for this presentation, learning analytics that could be applied across multiple educational contexts.
Unfortunately, learning platforms have thus far failed to unlock the potential benefits of co-creative learning. Too often, technical solutions are either limited in flexibility and thus are applicable only to narrowly defined types of content. These come with a significant technical burden for the educator in terms of initial setup, configuration, management, and ease-of-use, especially for those lacking in digital literacy, they lack the necessary controls, leaving little room for creativity, inspiration and research. Difficult to use solutions are often a time sink, diminishing the promise of such technology, especially for large groups of students.
One immediate advantage of the successful implementation of co-creation or interactive software is that it creates valuable data traces that can be used to measure aspects of learning behaviour in real-time, at an individual level, with minimal overhead. Students can be rewarded for positive interactions in various ways. Positive interactions can include signalling a mistake in the course text, fixing an error, adding a link to an external resource, rewriting parts of the text, or adding new content altogether. For this, students can be rewarded directly with grades, or indirectly through gamification with temporary badges, permanent trophies, an increased ranking relative to their fellow students, unlocked features, or just the inherent pleasure of enabling one another's learning through the display of their own aptitude in the area of study.
By measuring how students learn and interact with each other and their courseware, the student, the teacher, and higher education institution (HEI) can get a deeper, more objective and data-driven insight into the study process. This insight can be used to optimise the learning process and to tailor student support to the individual student. Also, for learning behaviour that is associated with lower chances of success, the teacher, teaching assistant, or student support services could receive advance warnings; or the system could implement automated, anonymous remedial measures.
In short, this project aims to have a positive impact in how students and teachers interact with each other, how learning resources are consumed, and how these resources are continuously improved. This presentation looks in depth into the analysis of the data that can be generated in co-creative interactive learning contexts.
References Traxler, J. and Smith, M. (Eds)(2022) Digital Learning: Covid-19 and Beyond. Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd.