Using learning analytics to improve online formative quiz engagement

Irene O'Dowd


This paper describes the findings of a small research study, conducted in a third-level online college, using learning analytics to examine the implementation of formative quizzes in a blended-learning post-primary teaching programme. Using historic data captured in a virtual learning environment (VLE) for a single cohort (n=126), patterns of use of formative Knowledge Check quizzes were analysed with particular regard to completion and retakes. Three hypotheses were tested using appropriate data correlation methods. Completion levels for quizzes were correlated with completion levels for other online tasks to see whether an increase in task workload resulted in a decrease in quiz engagement. A second test compared levels of quiz re-attempts with completion levels for other online tasks, to see whether different patterns of quiz attempts were linked to different levels of online engagement. Finally, the data was analysed to ascertain the relationship, if any, between student gender and different patterns of quiz attempts, to see if gender might be a factor in quiz engagement. The findings of this study suggested that the decrease in engagement with quizzes was not significantly related to task workload increase, and that there is a relationship between quiz re-attempts and higher module engagement. The findings are presented and discussed in the context of student engagement with online formative strategies in humanities-based subjects. Options are considered for enhancing engagement and formative value in this teaching and learning context; the potential of learning analytics in informing evidence-based improvements in digital learning design is also assessed.


Moodle; quiz; quizzes; formative assessment; learning analytics; digital learning; quantitative; data analysis; engagement

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