From prediction to impact

TitleFrom prediction to impact
Publication TypeBook Chapter
AuthorsDawson S, Jovanovic J, Gasevic D, Pardo A
Abstract

Learning analytics research has often been touted as a means to address concerns regarding student retention outcomes. However, few research studies to date, have examined the impact of the implemented intervention strategies designed to address such retention challenges. Moreover, the methodological rigor of some of the existing studies has been challenged. This study evaluates the impact of a pilot retention program. The study contrasts the findings obtained by the use of different methods for analysis of the effect of the intervention. The pilot study was undertaken between 2012 and 2014 resulting in a combined enrolment of 11,160 students. A model to predict attrition was developed, drawing on data from student information system, learning management system interactions, and assessment. The predictive model identified some 1868 students as academically at-risk. Early interventions were implemented involving learning and remediation support. Common statistical methods demonstrated a positive association between the intervention and student retention. However, the effect size was low. The use of more advanced statistical methods, specifically mixed-effect methods explained higher variability in the data (over 99%), yet found the intervention had no effect on the retention outcomes. The study demonstrates that more data about individual differences is required to not only explain retention but to also develop more effective intervention approaches.Learning analytics research has often been touted as a means to address concerns regarding student retention outcomes. However, few research studies to date, have examined the impact of the implemented intervention strategies designed to address such retention challenges. Moreover, the methodological rigor of some of the existing studies has been challenged. This study evaluates the impact of a pilot retention program. The study contrasts the findings obtained by the use of different methods for analysis of the effect of the intervention. The pilot study was undertaken between 2012 and 2014 resulting in a combined enrolment of 11,160 students. A model to predict attrition was developed, drawing on data from student information system, learning management system interactions, and assessment. The predictive model identified some 1868 students as academically at-risk. Early interventions were implemented involving learning and remediation support. Common statistical methods demonstrated a positive association between the intervention and student retention. However, the effect size was low. The use of more advanced statistical methods, specifically mixed-effect methods explained higher variability in the data (over 99%), yet found the intervention had no effect on the retention outcomes. The study demonstrates that more data about individual differences is required to not only explain retention but to also develop more effective intervention approaches.