The world of education is changing more than ever. Since the emergence of the internet, platforms for e-learning are becoming omnipresent. The use of video lectures and other online learning materials are rapidly replacing traditional lectures and textbooks. As learning is occurring more and more online, teachers are facing new challenges. The increasing distance between student and instructor asks for new tools to track and adjust learning activities.
To address these challenges, the VITAL project was initiated. As an Erasmus+ project, its goal is to raise the quality of education through the use of learning analytics for higher education. VITAL is a collaboration between Hasselt University, the University of Central Lancashire and the University of Amsterdam. The Centre for Applied Linguistics at Hasselt University coordinates the project and is supported by our research group through its expertise in data analytics.
The project aims to establish a clear image of how higher education students learn online by making use of exploratory learning analytics. The goal is to analyse the process of autonomous learning using process mining algorithms. The insights can then be delivered to important educational actors, being both students and lecturers.
As such, a learning dashboard application for students and for teachers will be developed and implemented. These applications will allow both the teachers and the students to understand how they learn online. Furthermore, it allows them to compare their profile to user patterns of their peers. At the same time, educators get dynamic and real-time overviews of how their students are progressing. They can identify which students might be at risk of dropping out or of failing for the course. The parts of the course which cause difficulties or need more feedback will become clear.