Learning Analytics: The Way to Get More Effective Flipped Learning

In our Flipped Learning 3.0 series, Dr. Raul Santiago goes into great depth about how to innovate during class time. This article focuses in on three main moments in a lesson where learning data can help a teacher improve instruction for all students. 


In this post we will delve deeper into the importance Learning Analytics has in a suitable design and implementation of Flipped Classroom. We are not only referring to the learning outcomes through the use of LMS systems but also to basic assessment by teachers or by students themselves.

As we all know, and this is something all education students learn, this assessment allows students to learn in a more active and practical way,  facilitating the possibility of participating in problem solving and critical thinking development, which in most cases is not frequent in daily class time.

Consider the following: students work at the lowest levels of knowledge (such as knowing and remembering) outside the classroom and leave the most complex levels of cognitive work (application, analysis, synthesis, evaluation) for class time with the guide of teachers and the support of their classmates. The pre-classroom tasks should be short, relevant, meaningful. But for them to be really efficient, there should be information about what is really happening in the students’ minds in each of those moments.

The Importance of Pedagogical Design

When designing a Flipped Classroom activity there are three moments in which Learning Analytics provide us with accurate data for the improvement of the learning process:

  • The very first moment, before class time, when students work in a LMS system or another online platform  and produce answers in an asynchronic way.
  • A second moment, after the checking of those answers by the teacher and re-designing of another questionnaire that is completed synchronously by the students.
  • A third moment, after the explanation, when students debate in pairs (Peer Instruction) and then produce new data.

The Importance of Aligning Learning Objectives and Assessment

The “Constructive Alignment” (Biggs and Tang, 2007) involves the design of learning and evaluation around objectives, the outcomes teachers want the students to learn; in other words, teachers plan learning activities that make students perform to achieve the outcome in the best way, so learning is constructed around what students do, not by what teachers do. Thus, students can build on their own.

When designing the assessment, teachers should communicate to students the system they are using with a rubric or other visual aids, which will surely help them perform much better; it will also clarify  the relationship between learning outcomes and learning activities and opportunities for formative feedback, so assessment tasks can therefore be adjusted.

The Art of “Asking Questions”

For an adequate ecosystem of learning analytics, the teacher’s role is essential since he is responsable for designing and writing activities, questions, tests and other forms of assessment. Because of this, we consider it crucial to learn more about “asking questions” as a stepping stone for the student’s knowledge analysis.

Questions define tasks, express problems and delineate issues taking thinking forward. Questions generated after answers are indicators of a live intellect. The lack of them can suggest a mind that is not intellectually alive. Not asking questions can be equivalent to not  understanding, as superficial questions are a reflection of superficial understanding.  Unclear questions may also mean unclear understanding. Substantial learning requires active asking.

As an example, we will see some of the advantages a videoquizz tool can allow us to do by asking questions in different ways:

  • Factual or conceptual questions about content that we have already seen in class or in videos. Some of these tools incorporate a timer that allows the teacher to see how the “response” time differs between those who “know” and those who “do not know.”
  • Procedural or metacognitive questions where the response time is always longer, since it is not a matter of “knowing or not” but of understanding the essence of the question and associating it to the content. In this context the statement would be: “Choose the right answer”.
  • Questions whose answers appear in the same statement of the question or in previous questions, for example: “Difficulty in ordering numbers according to their spatial structure, we speak of a type of dyscalculia”: a) Anarithmetic b) Linguistics c) Spatial d) Primary.
  • Questions related to new content we have not seen “before”. These are “surprise” questions that usually cause confusion, but they allow us to identify the students “who know what/if they know” because they are the first to report that “this was not in the video”, but they are really useful in introducing content and connect new to previous content.
  • Image based questions: concept maps, charts, outlines or models as some examples. These are really interesting for those students who have better spatial or visual understanding.

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