Learning analytics and learning design

This blog is based on reading ‘Informing pedagogical action: aligning learning analytics with learning design’ (Lockyer et al., 2013)

The authors claim that data collected is underused or even unused due to a lack of an underlying framework. They propose a framework called checkpoint and process analytics. They argue that this framework can be applied to provide information on the impact of learning activities.

Checkpoint analytics

The student has accessed the relevant resources of the learning design e.g shown through log-ins and pages visited. Checkpoint analytics measure which files diagrams etc the learner has accessed (these are considered to be pre-requisites to the learning).

The value of checkpoint analytics lies in providing teachers with insight into whether learners are progressing through the planned learning sequence.

Some pedagogical actions

  • reports of student log-ins can be used to offer prompts for late starters
  • teacher can initiate action
  • student participation levels can be reviewed to see whether all are particpating in activities where they are all required to.

Process analytics

The student has processed the learning and applies information and knowledge e.g. shown through the tasks completed, forum postings and discussions. Process analytics measures whether the learner carries out the tasks they are expected to, using the provided learning resources to do this.

The value of process analytics lies in providing teachers with insight into engagement levels of individual learners, which networks they have built and therefore whether they have support structure or not. They also have value in determining the level of understanding.

Some pedagogical actions

  • ideas are shared and discussed – teacher can monitor the level of understanding
  • social network analysis allows identification of the effectiveness of each groups’ interaction process

I feel these categories are more useful than previously explored (data driven and pedagogical driven) This is a practical and pragmatic framework and feels  more user friendly.


Lockyer, L., Heathcote, E. and Dawson, S. (2013) ‘Informing pedagogical action: aligning learning analytics with learning design’, American Behavioral Scientist, vol. 57, no. 10; also available online at http://libezproxy.open.ac.uk/ login?url=http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1177/ 0002764213479367 (accessed 14 July 2016).

MAODE, H817, Open University, Block 4 Activity 11


Pedagogy driven analytics

Ted Major. Dilemma

Capture creative commons

Analytics and pedagogy

The Innovating Pedagogy report, Sharples et al (2015) lists 10 types of pedagogy that may transform education in the future. Here I explore three of them and look at how they could be supported by learning analytics.

Crossover learning

Crossover learning links educational content to those things that matter to learners in their everyday lives. It takes place in informal settings such as museums and field trips and these experiences are enriched by adding in knowledge from the classroom whilst educational experience is enriched by this everyday experience. These connected experiences spark further interest and motivation to learn.

Learners could be supported through analytics on users flow – quickly accessing paths they have previously followed. Teachers could be supported through being able to see where learners were active and how they related their informal surroundings back to classroom learning. This would enable individual follow-up and customisation.

Incidental learning

Incidental learning is informal learning that takes place outside the formal classroom and is unplanned and unintentional. Learning analytics could support the capturing of this learning through analysis of websites visited, how long the visits lasted, which pages were viewed and what was downloaded. Social networking could be analysed to help highlight the breadth of social learning taking place and device use could be assessed to understand which devoces were being used most for informal learning. Ultimately, through analysis, this type of learning may become more ‘visible’ to the leaner and offer a broader picture of the whole learning experience.

Adaptive teaching

Adaptive teaching recognises the unique qualities of learners and aims to offer a bespoke learning experience which engages each individual. Learning analytics could help educators offer a more bespoke learning experience rather than a one size fits all approach. Analysing learners’ previous and current learning creates a personalised path through educational content e.g. suggesting where to start new content and when to revisit and review previously viewed content. Learning analytics can also show and monitor progress. Educators could use this knowledge to ensure their students are on track and as an early warning sign for problems. It may also be possible to deduce which parts of the content are working and overall where students struggle and so can be harnessed to develop and improve the educational content and the overall learning experience.

H817 Week 22 Activity 8: Analytics and Pedagogy

Exploring rhizomatic learning



This week I have been reviewing and learning about Dave Cormier’s rhizomatic learning.

My notes on Dave’s video are below – from this I have answered the following questions:

  1. Were you convinced by rhizomatic learning as an approach?

    Cormier’s first assertion that the ‘best teaching prepares people for dealing with uncertainty’ had some resonance in that the world is increasingly uncertain and that learners need to be able to negotiate this. I enjoyed Cormier’s heat metaphor and the question posed around ‘what are we teaching?’ i.e. that fire burns, that you should listen when people tell you something (don’t touch the fire) or that you might want to be aware of and check for hot things. This brought the concept of teaching to prepare for uncertainty to life, however I am troubled by the assertion that this preparation is ‘the best teaching’    I appreciate the use of the rhizome metaphor and can see the relevance to how people learn of an organism that can map in any direction, is not neat and tidy and grows and spreads via experimentation regardless of breakage and I can see how the learner taking responsibility for their own learning, via a MOOC for example, may exemplify this.
  2. Could you imagine implementing rhizomatic learning?

    Currently, probably not. I can see the relevance of rhizomatic learning in some contexts but see the challenge around being able to assess and measure learning for formal purposes e.g. professional qualifications as a major blocker to rhizomatic learning being adopted as a mainstream approach. Cormier’s assertion that effort, engagement and connection should be measured and that we should stop measuring learning as this is impossible to do is certainly food for thought given that organisational learning consultants are consistently asked to demonstrate ROI (return on investment) for their ‘learning solutions’. Even this language implies a focus on ‘fixing a problem by giving a learner something to learn’!
  3. How might rhizomatic learning differ from current approaches?

    With an emphasis on the community being the curriculum and learners taking responsibility for their own and their peers learning, rhizomatic learning has similarities with how we are seeing MOOC pedagogy developing. For example, FutureLearn relies on community discussion and debate and certainly some of the learning is intended to be developed in the forums and therefore within the community. However, the content is structured and is still ‘led’ by an instructor. The curriculum is very structured over a fixed timetable with freedom to move at the learners own pace but there is no student development of the curriculum.
  4. What issues would arise in implementing rhizomatic learning?

    My context: Organisational learning and development
  • Creating a space for a community
  • Lack of structure and freedom of the learner – barrier to meeting statutory training requirements as laid down by the governing bodies of the industries and the UK government
  • In a busy world, where learning is seen as another ‘task’ on the list, it is possible learners will take ownership for their own learning but unlikely they will take ownership for others’ learning
  • From an educator’s perspective requires thought and skill to set up the type of questions and activities that move scenarios from the simple to the complex.
  • Creating space for experimentation and learners in the workplace feeling safe to experiment rather than produce their completed and final work.
  • Culture change: the need to prove ROI currently focuses attention on learning outcomes/objectives and what learners are doing differently as a result of their taking part in a learning activity. There would be a need to refocus on and measure effort, engagement and connection. Culturally this is a significant mind shift

My (rough!) notes on the video

Rhizomatic Learning Dave Cormier activity 20



Cormier, D. (2010) ‘Community as curriculm and open learning’, Dave’s Educational Blog, 17 Jun [online]. Available at http://davecormier.com/ edblog/ 2010/ 06/ 17/ community-as-curriculum-and-open-learning/

Week 11 Activity 20, MA ODE

The role of abundance


This week involved exploring ‘a pedagogy of abundance’ Weller (2011)

Weller describes the following features of a pedagogy of abundance

  1. Content is free.
  2. Content is abundant
  3. Content is varied in its format (text, image, video etc)
  4. Sharing is easy
  5. Social based
  6. Connections are ‘light’’ – we make connections and build a network. These are easy to maintain as they don’t need one to one attention.
  7. Organisation is cheap – Clay Shirky (2008, 31) argues that the ‘cost’ of organising people has collapsed, which makes informal groupings more likely to occur and often more successful.
  8. Based on a generative system – affordances of the internet, specifically, unpredictability and freedom allow innovative developments
  9. User generated content emerges, ease of generation allows users to remix and develop content.

A key question to be answered in this exercise is:

“how do we best equip learners to make use of ‘abundance’?”

The following represents my reflections on this question

Search skills

The unregulated, unedited and unmonitored nature of the internet means anyone can publish anything. Developing search skills and understanding how to critically review sources is essential. The Michigan State University has published a list of resources to help evaluate online resources including websites http://fod.msu.edu/oir/assessing-online-resources

Knowledge of CC licensing

Ensure learners understand that not all content is free. Learners need to differentiate between free content and content that is subject to copyright, understanding Creative Commons licensing and how to apply it.

Knowledge of quality criteria

The ability to differentiate between high and poor quality resources is essential –knowledge of quality criteria such as that devised for Learner Generated Content by Perez- Matteo et al (2011) where a framework is laid out to assess content, format and process.

Online presence, confidence and being safe.

Learners need to be supported to develop their own online ‘voice’ and develop a presence in an online social space. If the pedagogy of abundance exists in the social space with light connections and is based on sharing and generating content then learners need to feel comfortable to share and put their work on display.  This also links to staying safe online and learners developing online boundaries.

Reuse and Remixing skills

Often resources are produced in a specific context and it may be difficult to remix and reuse in other contexts. Additionally, the lack of digital skills may prevent some learners engaging. Together these make it seem simpler to start from scratch or not to bother at all.


One last comment from me on motivation. All of the above makes the assumption that learners are sufficiently self-motivated to want to engage. There is probably more work to be done in explaining the ‘what’s in it for me?’ to the learner as currently a ‘pedagogy of abundance’ may seem overwhelming and just too much effort for too little a return.

Michigan State University. Assessing Online Resources (website) http://fod.msu.edu/oir/assessing-online-resources

Pérez-Mateo, M., Maina, M.F., Guitert, M., Romero, M., 2011. Learner Generated Content: Quality Criteria in online Collaborative Learning. European Journal of Open, Distance and E-learning 14.

Weller,M. (2011) ‘A pedagogy of abundance’, Spanish Journal of Pedagogy, vol.249,pp. 223-36. Available online at http://oro.open.ac.uk/28774/ (last accessed 15 April 2016)

Is comparing MOOCs like comparing apples with pears?


Image:Dimitar Nikolov

A comparison of DS106 Digital Storytelling, University of Mary Washington and two FutureLearn MOOCs,  Understanding Modern Business and Organisations. University of Strathclyde and Decision Making in a Complex and Uncertain World, University of Groningen

MOOC Module Overviews

DS106 http://ds106.us/

“This course will require you to both design and build an online identity (if you don’t have one already) and narrate your process throughout the fifteen week semester. Given this, you will be expected to openly frame this process and interact with one another throughout the course as well as engage and interact with the world beyond as a necessary part of such a development.

In many ways this course will be part storytelling workshop, part technology training, and, most importantly, part critical interrogation of the digital landscape that is ever increasingly mediating how we communicate with one another.

The course objectives are rather straightforward:

  • Develop skills in using technology as a tool for networking, sharing, narrating, and creative self-expression
  • Frame a digital identity wherein you become both a practitioner in and interrogator of various new modes of networking
  • Critically examine the digital landscape of communication technologies as emergent narrative forms and genres

FutureLearn  https://www.futurelearn.com/courses

Understanding Modern Business and Organisations. University of Strathclyde

“This course is all about developing your own perspectives on the world of business and organisations today. And we will also try to help you prepare for changing these perspectives as the world of business and organisations is changing tomorrow.”

Decision Making in a Complex and Uncertain World. University of Groningen

“This course will teach you the first principles of complexity, uncertainty and how to make decisions in a complex world.”

Future learn ds106 comparison

I began this blog by asking ‘is comparing MOOCs like comparing apples and pears?’ and I think the answer is probably ‘yes’. Each platform is so different and offers something different for the learner. Choose with care!

H817, Week 10 Activity 14