The 2019 edition of the Australian Learning Analytics Summer Institute took place at the University of Wollongong on 28-29 November. As part of the program the workshop titled “Scaling Personalised Student Communication: Current Initiatives and Future Directions” gathered delegates to share and discuss their work on using data to improve how communication occurs in learning experiences, and how can technology support scaling this to large student cohorts while maintaining personalisation.
The way we design and deploy learning experiences has undergone significant changes over the last years. One of the aspects that has had a strong influence in this change has been the use of technology to mediate experiences. And with technology comes the possibility to capture comprehensive information about how learners interact with resources, with instructors or among themselves. There has been an increasing interest in exploring how to use available data sets to either increase our understanding or improve the experiences and there is a large number of potential avenues. One of them is to focus on personalisation, or the ability to consider information about the learner and use it to provide specific support measures. At the same time, communication has always been the backbone of learning, but with the advent of technology, new scenarios and possibilities have entered the realm of feasible options.
Tools like SRES led the way more than seven years ago exploring ways for instructors to address diversity in large classes and saw positive impact on student perception. With more widespread data availability other projects appeared in the same space and the area started to see more varied combinations of pedagogy, data and technology. It is in this intersection where the workshop is situated. The case studies contained in this document are examples of how tools such as SRES or OnTask are used to articulate this connection in day-to-day experiences and the positive impact achieved for learners and instructors.
The goal of this workshop is to share the ongoing initiatives in this space, but more importantly, to collectively identify the next avenues to explore and enhance the potential for more effective communication with learners.