Learning analytics - PILARES

Description 

PILARES Project is a Smart Platform of Learning Analytics to improve performance in Secondary Education.

This project is setting up the basis to design a platform of Learning Analytics to improve performance in Secondary Education considering stakeholders needs, existing educational standards and concepts, and trends in ICT enhanced learning environments in Spanish secondary schools.

The research team has also been in contact with national researchers in the area (becoming members of the SNOLA community) and international researchers (through LAK conferences).

In the execution of PILARES, we fully accomplished these reviewed objectives:

  • O1.- Obtain stakeholders needs in secondary education. In order to carry it out, we have formed a group of secondary schools and professors, setting a pilot group of stakeholders (secondary teacher and a representative of the Generalitat Education department) to do in depth interviews, and the specific design of scripts about these gathering data methods as well. We had focused on the LMS (Moodle) usage in the school, identification of suitable indicators for learning tracking of students. A report of all interviews and a summary report has been produced.

  • O2.- Identify the existing educational concepts and standards as the basis for effective understanding, comparison and aggregation of educational data, translating them into a formal ontology. Starting from the previous identified needs and the available information in the Moodle tables, we are identifying the existing educational concepts present in the LMS tables, as the basis for effective understanding, comparison and aggregation of educational data. From this we will specify an integrated ontology (i.e. conceptual schema) of the main concepts required to assess the students and teachers’ needs regarding the Moodle learning processes.

  • O3.- Identify tendencies of Smart Learning Environments in Spanish secondary schools. We are analysing the current trends on Smart Learning Environments in Spanish secondary schools, the expected learning traits that may become available, the assessment and monitoring needs and the features that may be required from a Learning Analytics platform to support interoperability of new digital environments.

 

Fig. 1 Example of PILARES results

On the other hand, the collaboration with the company UPCnet (UPCNET2013-3 project and supporting the PILARES project) has been focused on identifying how learning analytics could be used to improve Moodle based products and services. The effort has also been placed on data extraction procedures and designing visualization tools that could be used to demonstrate potential benefits. Figure 1 shows the log access plot in one subject participating in the PILARES pilot.

Based on our initial promising results regarding learners’ motivation assessment based on data obtained from the LMS, our proposal will be mainly focused on learning process behavioural analytics.

Data to be used during the project will come out of selected secondary schools using AGORA, a large Moodle based LMS system used by 90% of Secondary schools in Catalonia. To this end UPC and the Department of Education of Generalitat de Catalunya have signed an agreement that includes the participation in pilot tests, the participation of educational experts in the research projects as part of the research team or as external advisors and the access to digital data from the AGORA platform for research purposes. This institutional platform is a Moodle-based platform offering services and content to more than 1500 schools and 400.000 students.

PILARES was submitted to the call “Proyectos I+D+I – Excelencia 2013” and funded by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, R & D - Spanish Research Program of Scientific and Technical Excellence as a one-year interim grant (“ayuda puente”) and the current PILARES Project is being executed during 2015.

 

Duration of the project 
January, 2015 present
Benefits for the client 
  • Obtain stakeholders needs at secondary education
  • Identify the existing educational concepts and standards as the basis for effective understanding, comparison and aggregation of educational data, translating them into a formal ontology
  • Identify tendencies of Smart Learning Environments in Spanish secondary schools
Technology 
Moodle,
MySQL,
Java,
Estadística i Computació,
R
Participants 
Maria Casadevall Muné
Jordi Vivancos Martí
Eva Patricia Gil Rodríguez
Jordi Giralt Baldellou
Thesis, master's or degree's final projects 
Articles and Presentations 

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