While not quite as catchy as Jack Johnson’s hit single, the title of this blog is meant to serve as an open invitation to anyone who wants to improve the status quo. For years, institutions and vendors have made strides using their own data. Most institutions have risk models that are driven by demographic data, incoming GPA, and other factors. Most vendors have solutions for educators that promise improvements to their students’ outcomes. These approaches have certainly helped improve student success, but the value of a single body of data has limits.
In today’s ecosystem of learning platforms, student data journeys are more segmented than ever. So how can organizations continue to improve learning outcomes with ever-thinning slices of the story?
Students might have a fantastic incoming GPA, but ultimately underperform in their first semester due to lack of engagement with their courses. Similarly, students might be highly engaged in a course, but lack the foundational knowledge required by the course to be successful.
Combining the data slices from each stop along the student’s learning journey takes time and resources. Determining whether or not this is worth the effort, including the surrounding standards that aim to make data interoperability easier, was a focus of a recent study we completed in partnership with UMBC and Blackboard®. This study, one of the first of its kind, aimed to combine data from multiple sources using IMS Caliper to see if combined data could better predict student outcomes than a single silo of data.
By combining student engagement data from Blackboard Learn™ and VitalSource Bookshelf® with demographic, roster, and outcomes data from UMBC, we were able to predict student outcomes with a higher degree of accuracy than we could with one data source alone. The study reinforced the importance of student engagement with learning tools. In our predictive model, engagement with Blackboard Learn and VitalSource were both stronger predictors of success than incoming GPA. Using this model, an incoming student with a 2.0 GPA and a low (first quartile) engagement with Blackboard Learn and no use of VitalSource has a 37% chance of passing the course. However, that same student has greater than a 90% likelihood of passing the course if they were in the top quartile of Blackboard Learn use and have accessed their course materials on VitalSource. If you haven’t yet read the study, please take a moment to check it out!
So, are you ready to reject the status quo and start making more informed decisions using more than just your data silo? If so, let us know. We’d love to talk to you about how VitalSource’s IMS Caliper data feeds can easily combine with data from your other learning platforms to ultimately give you a more holistic, success-oriented outlook at your university.