LMS Data: A Key Component of Educational Intelligence

by | Nov 16, 2017

Note: Originally posted on Instructure’s Extra Credit blog

The LMS continues to expand as the “hub” to facilitate and orchestrate the online learning experience. Given the breadth of intrinsic learning activities (e.g., enrollment, discussion, assessment, assignments) available in the LMS, the system generates a wealth of data that is a solid foundation for analyzing and addressing curriculum and student performance throughout the learning experience. Furthermore, with the emergence and adoption of IMS Caliper and xAPI, “live” event data is being captured with greater interoperability and timeliness. This enhances analysis to a more granular level as required for more specific actions to improve the learning experience.

Creating Educational Intelligence from LMS Data

As higher education seeks ways to drive student success and retention, LMS data analytics is invaluable for Educational Intelligence (EI) within the the teaching and learning segment of the student lifecycle. LMS data such as what is available via Canvas Data enables insights into student performance, engagement, as well as curriculum efficacy.

These insights help students and instructional stakeholders make timely and informed decisions that optimize the learning experience in both “rear view” historical and “near view” current perspectives. Some EI benefits include quickly surfacing students’ strengths and weaknesses and knowing what resources and strategies to prioritize and act upon.

Furthering Student Lifecycle EI

The benefits of LMS-derived EI are enhanced when activity data from the many LTI integrated 3rd party learning tools are added to the mix. The resulting EI for teaching and learning becomes richer both in breadth and depth, giving instructors and curriculum designers a more holistic and granular understanding of engagement and performance.

This combination of activity data from the LMS and 3rd party tools is essential not only for learning analytics, but also for EI insights across other areas of the student lifecycle (e.g., program/degree planning, student retention and persistence, career planning). Comprehensive teaching and learning insights adds tremendous value when resolving academic challenges that affect the other student lifecycle areas such as retention.

Getting EI Value from your LMS

So, clearly there is great benefit and value in all of this LMS and other learning data to drive EI. However, a bit of an implementation reality check is needed to best manage how to harvest all of this EI potential:

  • Although access to the LMS and other data sources may be available via API, effective end-to-end data management can be challenging, resource intensive and costly to take on completely internally.

  • Data volumes and throughput can be enormous and require tremendous capacity for collection, storage and processing to yield EI. Just collecting data from the LMS and potential other sources requires significant resources and capacity to ensure data is cleansed to ensure integrity, normalization, de-duplication, student identity alignment, etc.

  • Once data is collected, additional resources are required to establish scalable and efficient storage, processing, access, and visualization.

We see tremendous value when learning activity data is available via APIs to derive EI. With careful consideration, planning and execution, Getting Started with EI is within reach.

A certified partner of Instructure, Intellify Learning provides end-to-end Educational Intelligence solutions to help educators get started and continue their journey with analytics. We transform Canvas Data into insights that fuel initiatives in teaching and learning, student retention, and other areas of education.

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