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Nursing Informatics & Technology: A Blog for All Levels of Users

Analytics Improves Nurses’ Learning Outcomes

Published March 11, 2014 4:00 PM by Susan Sportsman
Learning analytics is a powerful tool for nurse education and training. Students and practicing nurses can monitor their progress against other learners while monitoring timelines and benchmarks.

Learning analytics can also predict which learners need more support and attention from instructors and trainers, who increasingly rely on analytics technology to enhance or create courses and modules based on learner feedback.

Learning analytics varies from data mining, which uses data to perform assessments and personalize learning. However, both learning analytics and data mining are plagued by similar problems. Like other learners, nurses question the risks of sharing data with employers, colleagues and educators. Others wonder about overreliance on software rather than human judgment to make learning decisions. And still others question the merit of evaluations based exclusively on correct or incorrect answers and not the process of problem solving.

Despite these barriers, learning analytics has made inroads in creating highly personalized education opportunities for nurses and other professionals. Platforms like no-cost Always Prepped aggregate and analyze the most important aspects of a learner's performance on a single dashboard. Instructors can send learners real -time report cards with a single click, while integrating accounts from other sites.

Kno turns textbooks into interactive learning experiences by adding links, multimedia, flashcards and quizzes. Equally important, the textbook advises learners on how much they understand content and compares their performance to others. Kno already offers multiple learning texts on nursing. Learners can purchase Nursing Now for about $32 or rent it for a year for $16. Within the book, learners can engage in advanced search engage in advanced search of chapters and notes, create journal entries, generate flashcards of terms and definitions, and access 3-D images, and track study habits, engagement and progress in the textbook.

Billed as "an engagement, assessment and classroom intelligence system," Learning Catalytics allows faculty members and trainers to assess learners in real time through open-ended or critical thinking questions, which learners can address with numerical, textual or graphical responses. Faculty members and trainers can pinpoint areas that need further explanation and group learners for follow-up discussion and problem solving. They can also author questions on their own or collaborate with faculty who share question ratings and comments.

Technologies like Knewton deliver a platform that personalizes learning content developed by others. Faculty and trainers get feedback on what learners know at a specific percentile of proficiency. They can also pinpoint the source of an incorrect answer, including lack of proficiency, forgetfulness, distraction or a misworded question. Equally important, the technology sorts through multiple education goals and offers faculty and trainers feedback on what content the learner should focus next. Finally, faculty and trainers can calculate the probability that a learner will pass an upcoming test or quiz, as well as what the learner can do to enhance that probability.

Learning analytics will continue to influence nurse education and training as nursing benefits from a growing number of personalized and adaptive learning solutions. More learning management systems and learning platforms will integrate learning analytics features, advising trainers and faculty members on how to monitor and evaluate learner behavior. Over time, learning analytics will tap big data to present even more refined insights into learning outcomes and organizational performance.


The Growth of Learning Analytics

Enhancing Teaching and Learning through Educational Data Mining and Learning Analytics: An Issue Brief

Society for Learning Analytics Research




posted by Susan Sportsman


Thank you for sharing these different types of technology that can be used in nursing education.  As the profession is forging toward the use of technology in practice, nursing education should move forward with the same agenda to prevent a gap between nursing education and nursing practice.  In our college, electronic health records are being used by the students in clinical and simulation.  This increases their employability and lead to a smooth transition from school to practice.

Christie, Nursing - Instructor, STC March 22, 2014 9:33 PM
McAllen TX

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    Occupation: Nursing informatics experts and enthusiasts
    Setting: Various settings in healthcare and academia
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