Software/Hardware

Hardware

Learners can use any internet-capable device to access Learning Analytics software. The most common hardware would likely be personal computers or tablets. On one hand, the wide variety of hardware options makes it easier for schools to implement Learning Analytics because students do not need a specific device to use the analytics program. Still, many primary and secondary school students do not have one-to-one access to computers at school, and many have no internet access at home. This issue may explain why much of the information on Learning Analytics is geared toward higher education.

Another issue that may arise is that certain devices cannot access certain types of files. For example, iPhones and iPads cannot view websites that use Flash videos. If a certain analytics program requires the use of Flash videos, learners may need to find another device to use the software.

Software

There are several companies that provide Learning Analytics programs. Because there is a wealth of data that can be gathered through online resources, teachers and institutions need to determine what information they want and find an online program that fits their needs.

The following video describes LeMo, a program first used at universities in Berlin. This program is intended to analyze the behavior of students learning online so e-learning courses can be better designed.



Another examples of a Learning Analytics program is Socrato, which is specifically geared to helping students succeed on major standardized tests. The program provides scores on practice tests and then offers learners suggestions for improvement, based on their needs. Click the photo to visit the website. 


There are a variety of programs that can be used, and each program has its own strengths and weaknesses. To choose a program, educational leaders need to first determine a goal, and then decide what information they think will be helpful to achieve that goal.

Because these programs are web-based, all user information is stored in the cloud. Cloud computing enables learners to access these programs from anywhere where they have internet access, and allows the program to provide immediate feedback. Still, one software issue that can occur is that if a learner loses internet access, he or she cannot use the program. Similarly, there are always privacy concerns with online resources where personal information is stored. Many programs (including LeMo, described above,) address concerns about privacy, but some people may still be concerned about who has access to the data that is gathered.