Teaching with Analytics: Towards a Situated Model of Instructional Decision-Making


The process of using analytic data to inform instructional decision-making is acknowledged to be complex; however, details of how it occurs in authentic teaching contexts have not been fully unpacked. This study investigated five university instructors’ use of a learning analytics dashboard to inform their teaching. The existing literature was synthesized to create a template for inquiry that guided interviews, and inductive qualitative analysis was used to identify salient emergent themes in how instructors 1) asked questions, 2) interpreted data, 3) took action, and 4) checked impact. Findings showed that instructors did not always come to analytics use with specific questions, but rather with general areas of curiosity. Questions additionally emerged and were refined through interaction with the analytics. Data interpretation involved two distinct activities, often along with affective reactions to data: reading data toidentify noteworthy patterns and explaining their importance in the course using contextual knowledge. Pedagogical responses to the analytics included whole-class scaffolding, targeted scaffolding, and revising course design, as well two new non-action responses: adopting a wait-and-see posture and engaging in deep reflection on pedagogy. Findings were synthesized into a model of instructor analytics use that offers useful categories of activities for future study and support

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.18608/jla.2019.62.4

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