Broadening the Use of Learning Analytics in STEM Education Research
Effective Years: 2023-2026
Learning Analytics (LA) has emerged over the past 15 years as an interdisciplinary practice that applies computational methods from data science and artificial intelligence (AI) to better understand and improve student learning. However, professional development and training opportunities -- particularly for scholars from underrepresented groups -- have not kept pace with the growing demand for STEM education researchers prepared to use these methods. To address this issue, the Institute on Broadening the Use of Learning Analytics in STEM Education Research will provide participating scholars with ongoing training and support in using cutting-edge techniques for their STEM education research. The project team will also develop easy-to-use and adaptable curriculum materials that participants can use to provide training for faculty and students at their home institutions. All curriculum materials will be published on a freely-available website so that education researchers and practitioners everywhere can benefit, not just those directly involved in the program.
The first year of the Institute will focus on creating a modular and adaptable curriculum composed of 25-30 instructional modules that can be assembled into learning opportunities ranging from short duration workshops or webinars to multiple distinct semester-long courses. Years 2 and 3 will focus on training two cohorts of STEM education researchers (50 participants in total) to learn from, and teach with, curriculum materials developed during Year 1. Each cohort will attend a 5-day, in-person summer training institute and participate in online workshops during the academic year focused on self-selected methods and topics (e.g., large language models, supervised machine learning, network analysis) relevant to participants’ research interests. In addition, the project team will provide participants with ongoing training and support to pilot instructional materials with faculty or students at their home institutions throughout the year.
This project is supported through a partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Schmidt Futures, and the Walton Family Foundation. This project is also supported by NSF's EDU Core Research Building Capacity in STEM Education Research (ECR: BCSER) program, which is designed to build investigators' capacity to carry out high-quality STEM education research in the core areas of STEM learning and learning environments, broadening participation in STEM fields, and STEM workforce development.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.