Teacher-Facing Learning Analytics Dashboard for Social Annotation


The synergy of learning design, teacher inquiry, and learning analytics has a positive impact on instructors as designers and practitioners as well as the learning of students, i.e., the ‚Äč‚Äčlearning design should lay the fundamental basis for the inquiry of teachers (Nancy, 2017), and the inquiry guides the adoption of learning analytics (see Figure 1). However, the synergistic effect has been hindered due to the misalignments: 1) lack of a learning design framework to direct inquiry - the misalignment between learning design and teacher inquiry, and 2) the data provided by the learning analytics cannot answer the questions of teachers - the misalignment between teacher inquiry and learning analytics (Macfadyen et al., 2020; Nguyen et al., 2020). The disconnection was also revealed by the systematic review of Mangaroska and Giannakos (2018). One major problem this research intends to address is the misalignment between learning design, teacher inquiry, and learning analytics in the expectation that learning analytics could be truly useful for teachers to reflect and improve learning design in authentic educational settings.

Figure 1. The alignment between learning design, teacher inquiry, and learning analytics Screen Shot 2023-07-01 at 07 44 03

The Present Study

Attempting to address the issue, this study aims to design and implement a learning analytics dashboard with and for teachers using Activity-centered Analysis and Design framework (Goodyear & Carvalho, 2014) to support teacher inquiry into the learning process of students in social annotation activity. Using the design-based research approach, the study, focusing on the first cycle, includes two main phases: the design and implementation phase.

Design - from October 2022 to June 2023

Under the general guidance of ACAD, we collaborated with instructors from different colleges in the University of Minnesota via three-round meetings and multiple emails to design and develop a functional dashboard. The developed dashboard has a design page and an analytics page. On the design page , instructors input their design of social annotation activities (see Figure 2). Taking the learning design as a baseline/reference, the difference between student activity imagined by the instructor and the student activity in real-time class could be easily seen on the analytic page (see Figure 3). Instructors can take down memos of reflection on the dashboard while viewing the data.

Implemenation - from September 2023 to December 2023

In the upcoming fall semester of 2024, the instructors will use the dashboard in their classes. Our investigation focuses on in what ways the dashboard supports teacher inquiry into the learning process of students and helps them reflect on and adjust their learning design. The effect of adjusted learning design on the learning process of students will be reported.


The study makes contributions in the fields of learning design and learning analytics. It responds to the pressing need to evaluate and interpret the impacts of learning design by teachers (Macfadyen et al., 2020) and echoes the calling of the learning analytics community that uses learning analytics to enhance the understanding of teaching and learning (Selwyn, 2019). This study, with the alignment between learning analytics and learning design, takes a step further from describing what things are to how things should be (Kaliisa and Dolonen, 2022). The advance in the study better supports teachers to optimize the learning design and take action to help students achieve their learning goals. The optimized learning design can also be shared with other teachers to provide suggestions on the design.

Figure 2. Design page for instructors to input their design

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Figure 3. Analytics page aligning with the learning design

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