The Potential of Learning Analytics to Create a Competitive Advantage for ABC University

Topics: Learning, Higher education, Education Pages: 6 (1701 words) Published: March 23, 2014
Executive Summary
ABC University’s vision is to be “a national leader in innovative teaching and interactive technology -- one that engages students in creative problem-solving for the Information Age.” In order for ABC University (ABC) to remain competitive, it will be important for educational leaders within the organization to identify key trends that will either positively or negatively impact higher education learning. The recent 2014 NMC New Horizons Report examines the potential impact of key emerging technologies on teaching, learning, and innovative inquiry within the environment of higher education (Johnson, Adams Becker, Estrada, & Freeman, 2014). Learning analytics (LA) is one of the near-term strategies outlined in the report. LA is defined as the measurement, collection, analysis, and reporting of data about learners and their milieus, for purposes of understanding and optimizing learning and the environments in which it occurs. Learning analytics would allow ABC to leverage student data to gain insight and knowledge on every layer of their organization. In addition, LA would allow ABC to deliver personalized learning, enable adaptive learning methodologies and practices, and identify learning issues proactively. Lastly, ABC could use learning analytics to gather data on their students' academic progress and focus on making sense of student learners activity (through clicks, social network analysis, etc.). With the rise in available educational data, it’s projected that learning analytics will become a prevailing technology leveraged by teachers and higher learning institutions to better understand and predict personal learning needs and performance of student learners. As such, learning analytics has the potential to create a competitive advantage for ABC University and differentiate it from its competitors.

Problem
Confronted with numerous challenges – decreases in public funding, severe economic recession, budget shortfalls, rising tuition, globalization, and increased competi¬tion – higher education institutions are beginning to leverage analytics to improve results and meet institutional goals. Many of these challenges are placing severe pressure on the resources and financial stability of colleges and universities (Picciano, 2012). Based on ABC University’s Business Division strategic plan, its student population is mostly non-traditional students, a large percentage of who are working adults that are the first in their family to attend college (first generation students). External educational trends predict enrollment to increase in both public and private degree-granting institutions in the near future (Projections of Education Statistics to 2018, 2009). The number of younger students has traditionally grown faster than that of older students; however, this pattern is expected to reverse as the U.S. population ages. Lastly, there is an increasing trend of competition from virtual universities and other traditional universities offering virtual modes of teaching to reach across geographical boundaries including international borders, and this is expected to continue (WMU Strategic Plan For Information Technology, 2009). As outlined above, there are a number of economic trends expected to impact education in general and, ultimately, the programs in the Business Division of ABC University. First, decreases in funds for scholarships, fellowships, student loans, and work study programs are expected due to lower state funding and decreasing state revenues. Second, tuition and fees increased an average of 36% between 1995 and 2005, 51% at public four-year institutions, and 30% at community colleges. Lastly, recession in South Georgia is expected to continue thereby creating a declining pool of potential students with adequate disposable income to pursue higher education. In North Florida, state government is undergoing massive budget cuts resulting in layoffs and reduced...
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