Posted by: Michael Atkisson | July 28, 2011

LAK11 MOOC: Learning Analytics Successes?

The two most compelling cases for the impact of Learning Analytics in the LAK11 MOOC were those of UMBC and SunGard’s Signals.


John Fritz presented on his work with Blackboard at UMBC. Using Learning Analytics he was able to give student performance feedback to students and instructors through the LMS. Of the classes he studied, he found that students who received a D or an F interacted with Blackboard 39% less than students who earned higher grades.

One of the instructors that John studied used a tool called Adaptive Release. That particular instructor’s students were performing 20% higher on the departmental econ final than other students. The instructor did not administer or develop the final.


Kimberly Arnold of Purdue presented on the Signals program. Students receive feedback in the LMS by means of a traffic light metaphor and receive recommendations on what to do differently to improve.

The model that they developed to predict grades based on certain levels of performance and certain behaviors (50 courses, 40 instructors,, and 1,500 students) was 66% accurate for all students studies. Accuracy was 77% for first-year students.

The Signals team was able to improve grades on the average in those students who used Signals. Overall students with Ds went to Cs and Students with Cs went to Bs. Students with As stayed As and there was little movement from Bs to As.

Signals also affected retention. For the 2008 cohort, 94% of students who used signals were still in school one semester after using Signals vs. 77% of the cohort. 82% of the Signals students were still in school one year after using Signals vs. 76% of the cohort.

Student Retention as a Result of Signals

Student Retention as a Result of Signals

Other Institutions that are Developing Learning Analytics

I’m sure that there are other success stories for Learning Analytics, but these are the two discussed in the MOOC. I am sure we will see more in the near future as there are several schools and organizations promoting the development of Learning Analytics (Arnold, 2011; Fritz, 2011), such as:

  • SunGard Education/Signals
  • iStrategy Solutions (Blackboard)
  • UMBC’s Blackboard Reports and CMA
  • Starfish Early Alert (Starfishsolutions)
  • Blackboard Greenhouse Grant, Project ASTRO
  • Argosy University
  • Purdue University (Signals)
  • Slippery Rock, University of Pennsylvania
  • South Texas College
  • SUNY Buffalo
  • University of Alabama
  • University of Central Florida
  • University system of Georgia
  • Hofstra University
  • Educause Center for Applied Research (ECAR)
  • Capella
  • University of new England (AU) looking at student sentiment to predict student success
  • University of Phoenix
  • Institute of Educational Technology at the Open University of the United Kingdom
  • Minnesota State


Arnold, K. (2011, January 26). Purdue Signals and Learning Analytics. Presented at the LAK11 MOOC, Purdue Signals and Learning Analytics. Retrieved from

Fritz, J. (2011, January 11). Learning Analytics. Retrieved from


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: