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Differentiation through Blended Learning and Learning Analytics

01 Sep 2015 - 31 Aug 2017
Project leader:
Prof. Harold VM van Rijen (GNK)


The collection, analysis and reporting of data about students and their contexts for the purpose of understanding and optimising learning and the environments in which it occurs is called ‘Learning Analytics’1.

The addition of learning analytics to Blended Learning offers a host of new possibilities. It can give students insight into their progress as they prepare through e-learning and provide the correct adaptive feedback to their efforts. It can give students a sense of whether they are properly prepared for face-to-face classroom sessions. It can give teachers insight into how much progress is being made at the student, subject, or cohort level, thus allowing them to create adaptive classroom education and possibly differentiate by ability level. In order to improve the Blended Learning learning continuum as an educational model, there is a need for an easy to deploy Learning Analytics service as well as design-focused research into finding effective forms of teaching in which feedback and differentiation are central concepts.


In the proposed project, we intend to continue and expand the successful Blended Learning development track across the full width of Utrecht University. The main goal of this project is to implement some level of innovation at every subproject in each faculty so that all faculties move right on the spectrum.

The main goal can be separated into two objectives:
1. Iterative implementation and evaluation of Blended Learning into education that is currently for the most part traditional. The intended results are:
a. More complementary arrangement of knowledge acquisition (e-learning) and knowledge processing (classroom), allowing higher cognitive levels to be reached in the classroom.
b. Enhanced motivation among students and teachers, both in the knowledge acquisition and the knowledge processing phase.

2. Adding learning analytics and differentiated teaching methods to the Blended Learning learning continuum. This objective has a more design-oriented, research-oriented nature. The envisioned results are:
a. An idea of how to effectively employ learning analytics to either aid students in their preparations or the teacher in the classroom.
b. Developing a learning analytics tool suitable for large-scale implementation
c. Validated forms of a learning continuum in which the preparations of the individual student through e-learning are optimally supported by adaptive feedback from the electronic learning environment, ensuring that the student has achieved the required knowledge for taking part in in-depth learning in the classroom.
d. Validated forms of a learning continuum in which students’ preparations provide input for more adaptive teaching by the teacher.