Assessing learners’ competencies in online E4E systems via data analytics to achieve higher effectiveness in learning

Principal Investigator: A/P Andy Khong, Assistant Chair (Outreach) School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (EEE)
Co-PIs: A/P Tan Yap Peng, Associate Chair (Academic), EEE; Kevin Hartman, Research Scientist, Centre for Research and Development in Learning
Collaborators: Jack Sheng Kee, DELTA Electronics Inc
Funding Agency: DELTA-NTU
Technology-powered learning systems allow course developers to tailor their designs to different student profiles. These education technologies are considered integral components in 21st century education where learning is expected to take place beyond classrooms and throughout a lifetime.
NTU lies at the forefront of integrating Technology-Enhanced Learning (TEL) into its academic and life-long learning programmes. As a whole, the university intends to infuse technology into more than 3000 class modules by 2019. The increased availability of online course materials to both current students and professionals returning for further training helps inform learners prior to class discussions, engage in online learning activities, and direct their own learning outside the classroom.
However, online activities do not necessarily lead to a better understanding of students’ personalised learning behaviours and competencies. This gap between the potential of educational technology and the design of common learning activities presents a research opportunity for the Centre for Research and Development in Learning (CRADLE@NTU) and the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (EEE). Researchers from the centre and school are collaborating on a learning analytics system designed to make a learner’s current competencies and learning profiles, as gleaned from their online and classroom behaviour, more visible. Learning analytics is a data science that takes the digital traces that remain after a learning activity and processes them to yield actionable insights that can improve learning and learning designs.
The system is expected to help learners take action on strengthening their competencies and be more mindful of their motivation for and beliefs about learning.  The initiative adds a behaviour-focused dimension to the design of online training portals and courses to better excite, train and retain learners over the long-term.