Engagement is queen [god save the…]”

So as a product manager involved in designing our learning dashboard work around “actionable data by default”, I’m struggling with data events being so simple, and the learning design being so thorough.

We want actionable data to allow a student and their tutor to take action and guide them towards more learning success.

But if we say, “engagement is queen ” then data on clicks likes and respones is all we need right? Sure we’ve spent hours designing an online course packed with credits and the best and ID can muster… but none of that matters for analytics right? I.e., if a student engages more (writes to forums, does knowledge checks, visits links, visits pages and replies to conversations) it will lead to success. Is that true? So we only need to reflect back their engagement?

Will it matter that the learning design was scaffolding, a light starter activity or a something to engage self-critique… because it all boils down to clicks, likes and responses.

Or are we just saying that because checking for higher order thinking in our analytics can’t be done by robots yet? So we have to rely on basic checks to know what’s going on, and trust that engagement leads to successful learning. Doesn’t that leave a gaping hole for someone who is clicking, watching and posting rubbish to fall through? OR is the student’s own purposeful problem?

Here’s how far I’ve got, by mapping my thoughts to a bit of Blooms to show levels / types of learning.

  • Recall, they probably want to read a page and do a knowledge check on recalling the page’s content. Easy, student visited the page, they attempted the KC (a few times), they got the answers correct. Analytics done
  • Analyse, the best we can hope for is they view the page, view the reading, post to the forum and reply to a fellow students post (a few times). Unless the tutor is doing formative marking on the fly, we can’t take it any further
  • Create, say it’s group work… the best we can hope for is they visit the page, take part in the group discussion, submit to the group artefact and then their piece is submitted

What do you think, is all learning analytics and actionable data just bowing to the engagement queen with clicks, likes and word-counted responses?

By Dan Course

Senior Instructional Designer. Partnerships, people, products, delivery, agile tech and online edu. Naturally curious, innovative and willing to challenge the status quo.

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