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Assessing 21st Century Skills using Learning Analytics

In response to the changing demands on citizens and the workforce, educational institutions are starting to shift their teaching and learning towards equipping students with knowledge, skills and dispositions that prepare them for lifelong learning. These have been termed 21st Century skills/competencies, Core/Soft Skills, General Capabilities, Graduate Attributes, etc. There is now a lot of activity in the school and higher education sectors tackling the challenge of tracking and assessing these competencies in practical ways. Learning Analytics should in principle have important contributions to make, providing computational support for tracking learner processes (not just products), beyond the classroom in more authentic settings, visualizing patterns, and providing rapid feedback to educators and learners.

CIC organised a workshop to open up a discussion about ongoing efforts to develop and validate C21 skills, and the nature of the challenges if these are to make a systemic impact, including the pedagogical, assessment, technological and political factors that together define educational infrastructures.

For this workshop, CIC teamed up with Dr Zhongzhua Zhang from the Assessment Research Centre (ARC) of Uni. Melbourne, Dr Srecko Joksimovic from Uni. South Australia and Danny Carroll from UNSW. The workshop kicked off with an introduction to 21st century skills and overview of LA approaches from CIC Director, Simon Buckingham Shum. It was followed by Zhonghua’s presentation on using analytics for collaborative problem solving. He demonstrated the Collaborative Problem Solving tool that has been developed for school kids by ARC at UniMelb. This was followed by Srecko’s presentation on “Towards Analytics for Sense-making”, considering the challenges if analytics are to help illuminate this higher order ability.

This was followed by an overview of the ReView software, which was developed by Dr Darrall Thompson from Faculty of Design at UTS, to shift the focus from marks to competencies. The audience had an opportunity to see “ReView in action” in Muna’s demonstration that followed. Danny Carroll from UNSW then did a presentation on the different analytics reporting options of ReView.

Workshop participants were then invited to pool their knowledge about the different tools that can be used to assess different 21st century competencies. Learn more from the workshop slides and notes.