The use of a piloting process to explore learning analytics at the University of Strathclyde

A. Hainey, B. Green, H. Ramsay

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Learning Analytics is an emerging discipline that develops from, and can be facilitated by, the increasing use of technology in learning and teaching. Higher education institutions urgently require strategies for the use of these emergent technologies which support innovation in areas such as learning analytics. The University of Strathclyde developed an implementation strategy through an exploratory piloting process. This process captured evidence of impact on learning, teaching and student success from five diverse classes from different faculties and different modes of teaching. This presentation will discuss the piloting process, outcomes and recommendations from the pilots, and how the piloting method was a successful way to approach learning analytics.

The University of Strathclyde was founded in 1796, when Professor John Anderson, a leading figure in the Scottish enlightenment, left a bequest to set up ‘a place of useful learning’. This ‘place’ became the University of Strathclyde and today, our collective vision to be a leading international technological university, is still inspired by its founding mission. With this in mind, the Institution had recently invested in various technology based projects, such as the successful implementation of a unified and single Learning Management System. The Institution had also partnered with FutureLearn, a MOOC provider, which was providing useful insights into the learners’ behaviour. In addition to these projects, centrally and at Senior Management level, understanding of the potential of learning analytics was growing rapidly. The OU’s review of emerging and innovative pedagogy reinforced the potentially high impact and potential of learning analytics on student learning and engagement (Open University, 2014). This view was supported by studies published by Jisc (2014) and NMC (2013).

To examine the potential use of learning analytics, a project officer was appointed to undertake a piloting process with five diverse classes. One class was selected from each of the institutions four faculties and another from the Organisational and Staff Development Unit. Two classes were postgraduate distance learning classes, two classes utilised a blending learning approach, one at undergraduate and the other at postgraduate, and the final class was an undergraduate class utilising a flipped classroom approach. The pilots were evaluated using data captured from the LMS and other data sources, along with surveys and interviews to capture student and staff perspectives on the process. The results of the full evaluation will be provided in the presentation, however general feedback indicated that students welcomed visualisations of progress, and showed a preference for individualised email feedback. Staff also welcomed the reporting of this data into a single simplified report.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sept 2017
EventAssociation of Learning Technology Annual Conference 2017 - Liverpool, United Kingdom
Duration: 5 Sept 20175 Sept 2017


ConferenceAssociation of Learning Technology Annual Conference 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


  • learning analytics


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