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Exploring critical factors of the perceived usefulness of a learning analytics dashboard for distance university students

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  • Irina Rets
  • Christothea Herodotou
  • Vaclav Bayer
  • Martin Hlosta
  • Bart Rienties
Article number46
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2/09/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education
Number of pages23
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Learning analytics dashboards (LADs) can provide learners with insights about their study progress through visualisations of the learner and learning data. Despite their potential usefulness to support learning, very few studies on LADs have considered learners’ needs and have engaged learners in the process of design and evaluation. Aligning with that, there is a limited understanding of what specific student cohorts, in particular distance and online learners, may seek from LADs to effectively support their studies. In this study, we present findings from 21 interviews with undergraduate distance learners, mainly high performers, that aimed to capture student perceptions about the usefulness of specific LAD features and the factors that explain these perceptions. Our findings revealed that amongst the LAD features favoured by students was the potential to receive study recommendations, whereas comparison with peers was amongst the least favoured elements, unless informed by qualitative information. Factors including information trust, attitudes, age, performance and academic self-confidence were found to explain these perceptions.