Learner Dashboards a Double-Edged Sword? Students’ Sense-Making of a Collaborative Critical Reading and Learning Analytics Environment for Fostering 21st Century Literacies

Jennifer Pei-Ling Tan
Elizabeth Koh
Christin Rekha Jonathan
Simon Yang


The affordances of learning analytics (LA) tools and solutions are being increasingly harnessed for enhancing 21st century pedagogical and learning strategies and outcomes. However, use cases and empirical understandings of students’ experiences with LA tools and environments aimed at fostering 21st century literacies, especially in the K-12 schooling sector and in Asian education contexts remain relatively scarce in the field. Our paper addresses this knowledge gap in two ways. First, we present a first iteration design of a computer-supported collaborative critical reading and LA environment, WiREAD, and its 16-week implementation in a Singapore high school. Second, we foreground students’ evaluative accounts of the benefits and drawbacks associated with this techno-pedagogical innovation. Our analysis of students’ collective sense-making pointed to a number of potentialities and perils associated with the design and use of LA dashboards. Positives included (1) fostering greater self-awareness, reflective and self-regulatory learning dispositions, (2) enhancing learning motivation and engagement, and (3) nurturing connective literacy among students. The motivational value of peer-referenced LA visualisations for stimulating healthy competition and game-like learning was identified, alongside the perils of these serving to demoralise, pressurise and trigger complacency in learners. By focusing on students’ experiences and interpretations of how the LA dashboard visualizations impacted their learning motivation and outcomes, this paper aims to shed insights into the pedagogical complexities of designing LA that considers the voices of learners as a critical stakeholder group.


Learning analytics; computer-supported collaborative learning; critical literacy; 21st century competences

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18608/jla.2017.41.7


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