The Dashboard That Loved Me
Dr Ioana Jivet presented her PhD defence on the 26th of March 2021 in an online event. Jivet's excellent presentation and research earned her a cum laude, making her the 7th PhD to earn such acclaim at the Open University Netherlands.
Jivet's research looks at learning analytics tools. Learning dashboards are learning analytics (LA) tools built to make learners aware of their learning performance and behaviour and supporting self-reflection.
Jivet's thesis looks at how we can use learning analytics dashboard as feedback tools in online learning environments. We aim to uncover what are relevant design features and what is meaningful information to be displayed on dashboards from a learner perspective. Most of the existing dashboards follow a “one size fits all” philosophy disregarding individual differences between learners, e.g., differences that stem from diverse cultural backgrounds, different motivations for learning or different levels of self-regulated learning (SRL) skills.
The impact of technology in improving access to educational opportunities for learners of all ages in the last decade is undeniable, especially when looking back on the past year. Online learning environments provide ample opportunities to generate feedback and support learners through the educational data extracted from the traces generated by learners as they interact with these learning environments.'
In this research, Jivet challenges the assumption that impactful learning analytics should be limited to making learners aware of their learning, but rather should encourage and support learners in taking action and changing their learning behaviour. 'We thus take a learner-centred approach and explore what information learners choose to receive on the learning analytics dashboard and how this choice relates to their learning motivation and their self-regulated learning skills. We also investigate how dashboard designs support learners in making sense of the displayed information and how learner goals and level of SRL skills influence what learners find relevant on such interfaces.'
Research insights: Dashboard design
The large-scale experiments conducted with both higher education students and with MOOC learners bring empirical evidence as to how aligning the design of learning analytics dashboards with the learners’ intentions, learning motivation and the level of self-regulated learning skills influences the uptake and impact of such tools. The outcomes of these studies are synthesised in principles for learning analytics dashboard design.
Dashboard design goes beyond choosing whether we present data to learners through a bar chart or the colour palette. At the intersection of learning sciences, psychology, behaviour change, data science, data visualisation and human-computer interaction, numerous concepts need to come together to yield a fruitful design with a positive impact on learners. Dashboard design needs to balance complex educational needs with easily understandable and usable interfaces within the constraints imposed by current technology.
Ioana Jivet completed her PhD at the Faculty of Educational Sciences at the Open University of the Netherlands. Her research focuses on learner-centred LA dashboard designs, personalised LA interface design requirements and culturally inclusive LA. Since August 2019, Ioana is also working as a postdoctoral researcher at the Leiden-Delft-Erasmus Center for Education and Learning based at the Technical University of Delft.