The A4Learning project applies visual analytics techniques to provide students with self-awareness and group awareness. The project focuses on the development of a visualization technique that, when shown to students, allows them to estimate their learning performance and foresee their outcome in the course by comparing themselves with other students from the same course.
The tool developed by A4Learning - mathematically back-grounded on similarity metrics and other data mining techniques - will be used in online distance learning, where students usually lack of direct contact with peers and therefore cannot compare themselves with peers. That is to say that similarity with other students will be presented in a visual way, so the students will be able to determine who their behaviour-alike peers are, and how they are performing. This way, A4Learning will reduce the distance gap that typically arises in distance learning, and therefore will promote a more effective learning environment.
The awareness provided by A4Learning is especially meaningful in online distant scenarios, but is also applicable in other contexts such as blended learning or face to face learning with electronic delivery of contents. The level of awareness provided by A4Learning is a step forward in the use of visual analytics in the educational context, and provides a clear added-value on the encouragement of meta-cognitive skills, such as self-reflection.
HoTEL will support A4Learning through its practical implementation in UNIR Higher Education Lab, by theoretically assessing the usability, understandability and effectiveness of the tool, and validating the A4Learning prototype in pilot programs, and expert workshops in authentic learning scenarios, and this, with real users from the University Community (teachers, students and tutors).