Tapping analytics for blended learning

Victoria University (VU) has revitalised its e-learning environment through an integrated learning platform that uses data analytics and mobile apps to help design, deliver and manage learning programs for its more than 47,000 students.

The blended learning strategy replaces an antiquated learning management system, says VU’s associate director of blended learning, Dr Lisa Germany.

“The old system was limited in the learning opportunities it offered students and teaching staff,” says Dr Germany. “A blended learning initiative incorporates more user-friendly interfaces, as well as comprehensive course design capabilities.”

Blended learning involves students undertaking part of their studies through an online delivery of content and instruction, with students having some control over the time, place, path or pace of that delivery. For the remainder of their learning, students still attend a traditional ‘brick-and-mortar’ school with face-to-face classroom teaching combined with computer-mediated activities.

The two major benefits of blended learning is the opportunity for data collection and customisation of instruction and assessment. VU’s new integrated blended learning platform uses D2L (Desire2Learn) data analytics learning technology, which offers more detailed reporting, assessment and collaboration.

The new blended learning package incorporates a content repository, as well as analytics and mobile apps, which enable students to capture and share learning milestones, whether on campus, in the workplace or at home. They can also update their personal achievements using mobile devices or social media.

VU has spent $20 million on ICT so far this year, some of which was spent on the deployment of cloud infrastructure, sourced through a hosted cloud centre in Sydney.

Learning analytics is a big drawcard for education. “We are entering the era of big data and if you don’t have a system that offers opportunities to drill down and learn about your students, then you’re doing them a disservice,” says Dr Germany.

Among other initiatives, VU will finalise an online enrolment program by year’s end. This initiative enables students to enrol at their convenience and track the status of their enrolments in real time. It replaces a resource-intensive and cumbersome paper process.

See all news