Learning Analytics: What’s the Use? A Study of Staff and Student Perspectives in Higher Education

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Eadaoin Whelan
Sophie Gahan
Michelle Donovan
Owen Jump


Learning analytics (LA) has been defined as the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of data about learners, for the purpose of understanding and optimising learning and the environments in which it occurs. Due to the volume of student data that has emerged since the rise of virtual learning environments (VLEs), the field of learning analytics has subsequently gained momentum. However, knowledge gaps remain in relation to the ways in which learning analytics is implemented in Higher Education Institutions (HEI) to support students’ learning. The purpose of this contextual study was to examine staff and students’ attitudes towards and understanding of LA across four colleges within a HEI. Methods: Surveys and focus groups were conducted with both staff and students across four colleges within the HEI. Findings: Both staff and students rated ‘improving teaching quality’ and ‘improving individual students’ educational experience’ as some of the most important reasons for collecting and analysing student data. However, both staff and students also reported a lack of awareness regarding what data is collected within the HEI, and for what purpose. Conclusions: The main reasons highlighted by both staff and student responses in relation to the collection and analysis of students’ data reflect the primary goal of learning analytics which is to enhance the students’ learning process. A collaborative approach to is needed to ensure both staff and student voices are represented in the development and implementation of LA in HEIs.


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Whelan, E., Gahan, S., Donovan, M., & Jump, O. (2024). Learning Analytics: What’s the Use? : A Study of Staff and Student Perspectives in Higher Education. Irish Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning, 8(1). https://doi.org/10.22554/ijtel.v8i1.158
Original Research