A literature review of empirical research on learning analytics in medical education
The number of publications in the field of medical education is still markedly low, despite recognition of the value of the discipline in the medical education literature, and exponential growth of publications in other fields. This necessitates raising awareness of the research methods and potential benefits of learning analytics (LA). The aim of this paper was to offer a methodological systemic review of empirical LA research in the field of medical education and a general overview of the common methods used in the field in general. Search was done in Medline database using the term “LA.” Inclusion criteria included empirical original research articles investigating LA using qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methodologies. Articles were also required to be written in English, published in a scholarly peer-reviewed journal and have a dedicated section for methods and results. A Medline search resulted in only six articles fulfilling the inclusion criteria for this review. Most of the studies collected data about learners from learning management systems or online learning resources. Analysis used mostly quantitative methods including descriptive statistics, correlation tests, and regression models in two studies. Patterns of online behavior and usage of the digital resources as well as predicting achievement was the outcome most studies investigated. Research about LA in the field of medical education is still in infancy, with more questions than answers. The early studies are encouraging and showed that patterns of online learning can be easily revealed as well as predicting students’ performance.
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