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Four design principles for learner dashboards that support student agency and empowerment

Liz Bennett (School of Education and Professional Development, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, UK)
Sue Folley (School of Education and Professional Development, University of Huddersfield, Huddersfield, UK)

Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education

ISSN: 2050-7003

Article publication date: 30 May 2019

Issue publication date: 17 January 2020

850

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to take a student-centred perspective to understanding the range of ways that students respond to receiving information about their learning behaviours presented on a dashboard. It identifies four principles to inform the design of dashboards which support learner agency and empowerment, features which Prinsloo and Slade (2016) suggest are central to ethical adoption of learning analytics.

Design/methodology/approach

The study involved semi-structured interviews with 24 final-year undergraduates to explore the students’ response to receiving dashboards that showed the students’ achievement and other learning behaviours.

Findings

The paper identifies four principles that should be used when designing and adopting learner dashboards to support student agency and empowerment.

Research limitations/implications

The study was based on a small sample of undergraduate students from the final year from one academic school. The data are based on students’ self-reporting.

Practical implications

The paper suggests that these four principles are guiding tenets for the design and implementation of learner dashboards in higher education. The four principles are: designs that are customisable by students; foregrounds students sense making; enables students to identify actionable insights; and dashboards are embedded into educational processes.

Originality/value

The paper’s originality is that it illuminates student-centred principles of learner dashboard design and adoption.

Keywords

Citation

Bennett, L. and Folley, S. (2020), "Four design principles for learner dashboards that support student agency and empowerment", Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, Vol. 12 No. 1, pp. 15-26. https://doi.org/10.1108/JARHE-11-2018-0251

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited

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