Google analytics – use in education

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H817 MA ODE Open University, Block 4 Week 22 Activity 7

On reviewing Google Analytics it becomes apparent that these data have potential to generate learning analytics.

Here are some examples

Active users: tracking learners to see that they are still active and to give early warning indicators of potential drop outs.

User explorer: would allow individual tracking through the learning experience.

Cohort Analysis: defining common learner characteristics such as first time students versus seasoned students would allow cohort behaviours to be compared.

Demographics: understanding the age and gender composition gives the opportunity to tailor content and interventions.

Geo (language and location): helps in understanding any potential difficulties experienced by non native language speakers.

Behaviour: measuring how often learners return to certain learning activities or links could give insight into what needs improvement or what learners preferences are.

Technology and Mobile: understanding how learners access content could be useful in ensuring design is fit for purpose and planning for the future.

User flow: understanding the path learners take through a site could enable designers to improve the learner experience

The challenges associated with this include

  • data protection of learners information and online behaviour
  • ethical issues around the gathering and application of some of the above data e.g. Geo and User explorer
  • the ability to gather data against every possible analytic may lead to data being gathered because it’s there rather than being gathered for a purpose
  • data can only show what has happened, skill is required in identifying trends for planning e.g. technology and mobile.