Exploring students' sensemaking of learning analytics dashboards: does frame of reference make a difference?

Lisa Lim, Srećko Joksimović, Shane Dawson, Dragan Gašević

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference PaperResearchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Learning Analytics Dashboards (LAD) are becoming an increasingly popular way to provide students with personalised feedback. Despite the number of LADs being developed, significant research gaps exist around the student perspective, especially how students make sense of graphics provided in LADs, and how they intend to act on the feedback provided therein. This study employed a randomized-controlled trial to examine students' sense-making of LADs showing four different frames of reference, and to what extent the impact of LADs was mediated by baseline self-regulation. Using a mix of quantitative and qualitative data analysis, the results revealed rather distinct patterns in students' sense-making across the four LADs. These patterns involved the intersection of visual salience and planned learning actions. However, collectively, across all four LADs a consistent theme emerged around students planned learning actions. This theme was classified as time and study environment management. A key finding of the study is that the use of LADs as a primary feedback process should be personalized and include training and support to aid student sensemaking.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 9th International Conference on Learning Analytics and Knowledge (LAK'19)
Subtitle of host publicationLearning Analytics to Promote Inclusion and Success
EditorsChristopher Brooks, Rebecca Ferguson, Ulrich Hoppe
Place of PublicationNew York NY USA
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery (ACM)
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781450362566
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventInternational Learning Analytics & Knowledge Conference 2019 - Arizona State University, Tempe, United States of America
Duration: 4 Mar 20198 Mar 2019
Conference number: 9th

Publication series

NameACM International Conference Proceeding Series


ConferenceInternational Learning Analytics & Knowledge Conference 2019
Abbreviated titleLAK 2019
CountryUnited States of America
Internet address


  • Epistemic network analysis
  • Learning dashboards
  • Sensemaking
  • Social comparison

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