Low GPA Undergrads Served Best By Personalized Dashboard, Research Suggests

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Low GPA Undergrads Served Best By Personalized Dashboard, Research Suggests

The data science research team at Blackboard continues to share exciting findings from their ongoing quest about “how faculty and students use Blackboard Learn“, a popular LMS and Moodle competitor. Their latest revelation seems to be that, for low-scoring students, a little informative data, about their own performance, goes a long way.

Their latest update reveals the team’s partnership with Doctor Stephanie Teasley at the University of Michigan, and Director of the Learning, Education & Design Lab, also at U. Mich. Their research involved a follow-up with students, allowing them to explore both high and low GPA students and their ongoing relationship with a personal dashboard. The study reveals that information, which is easy to act upon, has a direct role as a low performer’s call to action. Examples are “summary messages” with brief, personalized details on pending tasks.

This correlation, between a timely piece of information and improved scores, was not as easily identifiable for high performers, and their satisfaction about the system’s features and designed wasn’t as high either. Debatably, the dashboard is telling high achievers what they already know.

Of course, we expect the findings Blackboard makes public to be only a fraction of the valuable insight obtained in their research practice. Furthermore, the research involved ongoing development of a proprietary analytics dashboard, at the time only available within the scope of the project, and unlikely to ever be for non-Blackboard users. While this research constitutes a valuable compass for other LMS and EdTech companies, teams at every size can only be certain of reaching new ground by performing their own research. Which could be as simple as in-depth interviews with existing customers.

In any case, a 7-page report, with some details on the experimental settings, methods and scenarios is available. While the outcomes suggests meaningful value in personal dashboards for low performers and entry-level learners, the researchers warn about “overgeneralization” and advise further replications, even beyond undegraduate student populations.

Download the full report by Teasley and Blackboard’s Director of Analytics and Research, John Whitmer, here. (Requires to fill out a form).

Read an overview by Whitmer at blog.blackboard.com.


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