New report points to increased use of data driving future learning

A new report published today by Policy Connect and commissioned by ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) has identified how big data and analytics has the ability to transform teaching and learning in higher education.

The report – From Bricks to Clicks – looks at the current situation regarding student data collection within UK Higher Education Institutions and the opportunities that improved data collection and analysis will offer learning providers.

Digital learning is predicted to continue to grow and with the removal of the student cap, universities will look to provide an increased number of digital courses to cater for the increased student numbers and increased demand. Anthony Walters, Policy Manager, ACCA Western Europe explains: “The traditional view of learning is being swept away through a combination of increased demand and improved technology.

“Moving from reactive to predictive analytics is going to be a challenge for all learning providers. It is an increasingly competitive sector, but by harnessing technology and data higher education institutions and their students will be given a level of insight and understanding on their performance which has never been seen before. By working together learning providers can use this big data to provide a seamless and supportive learning experience for students, from the point they enter higher education through to gaining post-graduate and professional qualifications.

“Using data collected about the way students interact with their learning provider, and how they approach learning will help shape courses that better meets students’ needs. Using big data can provide a goldmine of knowledge, for example you can identify which students are disengaged to predict who may be in danger of failing which will enable you to make timely interventions to help get students back on track.

“Working with global professional bodies should be an attractive option for them. ACCA has more than 450,000 global students, our experience of delivering a qualification to a global audience is unmatched. We have adopted online learning through ACCA-X and some of our exams are available through computer based examinations.

“Universities only have a certain amount of physical teaching space but with government income from research being reduced, institutions need to find more innovative ways to deliver their courses. Income from fees is becoming more important, so universities need to deliver courses to an increasing number of students.

“ACCA has concerns about the close linking of income – through tuition fees – and teaching excellence through the Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF). We do not want to see the TEF used as a ‘funding maximisation’ tool. The TEF should be seen as an opportunity to raise standards across the board and adopt new, innovative teaching methods.”