Give Me a Customizable Dashboard: Personalized Learning Analytics Dashboards in Higher Education
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© 2017 Springer Science+Business Media B.V. With the increased capability of learning analytics in higher education, more institutions are developing or implementing student dashboards. Despite the emergence of dashboards as an easy way to present data to students, students have had limited involvement in the dashboard development process. As part of a larger program of research examining student and academic perceptions of learning analytics, we report here on work in progress exploring student perceptions of dashboards and student preferences for dashboard features. First, we present findings on higher education students’ attitudes towards learning analytic dashboards resulting from four focus groups (N = 41). Thematic analysis of the focus group transcripts identified five key themes relating to dashboards: ‘provide everyone with the same learning opportunities’, ‘to compare or not to compare’, ‘dashboard privacy’, ‘automate alerts’ and ‘make it meaningful—give me a customizable dashboard’. Next we present findings from a content analysis of students’ drawings of dashboards demonstrating that students are interested in features that support learning opportunities, provide comparisons to peers and are meaningful to the student. Finally, we present preliminary findings from a survey of higher education students, reinforcing students’ desire to choose whether to have a dashboard and to be able to customize their dashboards. These findings highlight the potential for providing students with some level of control over learning analytics as a means to increasing self-regulated learning and academic achievement. Future research directions aimed at better understanding students emotional and behavioral responses to learning analytics feedback on dashboards and alerts are outlined.
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