The Positive Impact of Deliberate Writing Course Design on Student Learning Experience and Performance
Keywords:learning analytics implementation, learning management system, student engagement
Learning management systems (LMSs) are ubiquitous components of the academic technology experience for learners across a wide variety of instructional contexts. Learners’ interactions within an LMS are often contingent upon how instructors architect a module, course, or program of study. Patterns related to these learner interactions, often referred to as learning analytics implementation (LAI), can be represented by combining system-level LMS data with course-level design decisions to inform more granular insights into learner behaviour. The purpose of this paper is to use the LAI framework, specifically the principles of coordination and comparison (Wise & Vytasek, 2017), to examine how learner interaction patterns associated with LMS-use variables correspond to deliberate learning design decisions and course outcomes for a group of courses in the same undergraduate writing program. Visualizations of learner activity exhibited similar patterns of learner engagement across courses, corroborating the observation that design decisions heavily influence learner behaviour. Predictive analyses demonstrated strong influence of LMS use on final grades while accounting for course instructor. That is, while page views were not related to final grade, the length of discussion entries was often predictive. These results suggest that students who practised writing more — the main learning objective of this course — had higher final grades, regardless of variations in instructor and semester.
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