The great diversity of the student body in Australian universities is reflected in students' ages, cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds, motivations and experiences with technology. University teachers are also increasingly reliant on – and expected to use – a range of technologies to support student learning both on and off-campus. In designing and delivering online learning activities to meet diverse student needs, teachers commonly face educational challenges. This project identified common problems faced by teachers and students when learning online, and determined the types of learning analytics teachers may find useful to effectively address these problems.
The project involved three phases:
- Phase 1: The first phase of the project explored teachers' views on how learning analytics could help them address known difficulties or problems with teaching and learning online.
- Phase 2: In this phase a web-based analytics tool was developed that supports teachers to more easily interpret learning analytics to help them improve teaching and learning practices.
- Phase 3: Once developed, the web-based analytics tool was trialled in four subjects across The University Melbourne, Macquarie University and the University of South Australia.
This project aimed to develop a better understanding of learning analytics and the ways in which analytics can be interpreted, applied and actioned by teachers to improve teaching and learning practices.
Through an active dissemination program, this project helped to realise the full potential of learning analytics, by providing university teachers with a better understanding of how analytics can be interpreted, applied and actioned.
Support for this 2016 project was provided by the Australian Government Office for Learning and Teaching. The views on this website do not necessarily reflect the views of the Australian Government.
This project brought together researchers from three universities:
The University of Melbourne
- Professor Gregor Kennedy is the Pro Vice-Chancellor (Educational Innovation) at The University of Melbourne and a Professor in Higher Education in the Centre for the Study of Higher Education.
- Dr Linda Corrin is a Lecturer in Higher Education in the Centre for the Study of Higher Education at The University of Melbourne.
- Professor David Williams is a Professor in the Department of Physiology and Program Director for the Bachelor of Biomedicine at The University of Melbourne.
- Professor Raoul Mulder is a Professor and Reader in the Department of Zoology at The University of Melbourne.
- Professor Lori Lockyer is the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation Chair in Teacher Education and Head of the School of Education at Macquarie University.
- Dr Susie Khamis, graduated from Macquarie University with a BA in Modern History and Politics, and a Bachelor of Media (Hons).
University of South Australia
- Professor Shane Dawson is the Director of the Learning and Teaching Unit, and Professor of Technology Enhanced Learning at the University of South Australia.
- Scott Copeland is a Lecturer in Accounting at the University of South Australia Business School
- Professor Dragan Gasevic is a Professor and Chair in Learning Analytics and Informatics in the Moray House School of Education and the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh.
The Completing the Loop handbook gives an overview of the project and its outcomes, with a particular focus on the Loop Tool. It includes a literature review and discussion of current topics related to learning analytics and learning design, a presentation of the findings of the project, a comprehensive guide to the Loop Tool, the technical implementation framework, and key recommendations for the use of learning analytics in the higher education sector.
Please cite as Corrin, L., Kennedy, G., de Barba, P.G., Lockyer, L., Gašević, D., Williams, D., Dawson, S., Mulder, R., Copeland, S., & Bakharia, A. (2016). Completing the Loop: Returning Meaningful Learning Analytic Data to Teachers. Sydney: Office for Learning and Teaching.
The Loop Tool
The Loop Tool is an open-source online application compatible with Blackboard and Moodle that allows teachers to access data from learning management systems in an easy and meaningful way. The Loop Tool can be downloaded and installed on a server by your institution. The technical framework provides an explanation of each aspect of the Loop Tool and a step-by-step guide on how to install the Loop Tool.
The source code for the Loop Tool, the technical framework and a user manual are available as open source resources via the GitHub repository at: github.com/looptool/download
View some screenshots of the Loop Tool below:
Papers and presentations
- Bakharia, A., Corrin, L., de Barba, P., Kennedy, G., Gasevic, D., Mulder, R., Williams, D., Dawson, S., & Lockyer, L. (2016). A Conceptual Framework linking Learning Design with Learning Analytics. Proceedings of the sixth international conference on learning analytics and knowledge (LAK'16) in Edinburgh.
- Corrin, L., Kennedy, G., de Barba, P., Bakharia, A., Lockyer, L., Gasevic, D., Williams, D., Dawson, S., & Copeland, S. (2015). Loop: A learning analytics tool to provide teachers with useful data visualisations. In T. Reiners, B.R. von Konsky, D. Gibson, V. Chang, L. Irving, & K. Clarke (Eds.), Globally connected, digitally enabled. Proceedings ascilite in Perth 2015 (pp. 409-413).
- Kennedy, G., Corrin, L., & de Barba, P. (2015). Providing meaningful learning analytics at to teachers: a tool to complete the loop. In M. Hillier (Host), Transforming Assessment Webinar. Recording available at transformingassessment.com/events_9_december_2015.php
- Lockyer, L. (2015). Completing the Loop: Returning meaningful learning analytic data to teachers. Project presentation at Macquarie University Learning and Teaching Week.
- Kennedy, G., Corrin, L., Lockyer, L., Dawson, S., Williams, D., Mulder, R., Khamis, S., & Copeland, S. (2014). Completing the loop: returning learning analytics to teachers. In B. Hegarty, J. McDonald, & S.K. Loke (Eds.), Rhetoric and Reality: Critical perspectives on educational technology. Proceedings ascilite Dunedin 2014 (pp. 436-440). Available online
- Kennedy, G., Corrin, L., Lockyer, L., Dawson, S., Williams, D., Mulder, R., Khamis, S., Copeland, S. & de Barba, P. (2014). Completing the loop: returning learning analytics to teachers, Australian Learning Analytics Summer Institute, University of Technology Sydney. Project presentation
- Kennedy, G., Corrin, L., Lockyer, L., Dawson, S., Williams, D., Mulder, R., Khamis, S., Copeland, S. & de Barba, P. (2014). Completing the loop: returning learning analytics to teachers, Australian Learning Analytics Summer Institute, University of Technology Sydney. Poster presentation
Dr Paula de Barba, Melbourne CSHE, The University of Melbourne