Peeking into the black box: visualising learning activities Articles uri icon

publication date

  • April 2012

start page

  • 99

end page

  • 120


  • 1/2


  • 4

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1753-5255

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1753-5263


  • Learning analytics has emerged as the discipline that fosters the learning process based on monitored data. As learning is a complex process that is not limited to a single environment, it benefits from a holistic approach where events in different contexts and settings are observed and combined. This work proposes an approach to increase this coverage. Detailed information is obtained by combining logs from a LMS and events recorded with a virtual machine given to the students. A set of visualisations is then derived from the collected events showing previously hidden aspects of an experience that can be shown to the teaching staff for their consideration. The visualisations presented focus on different learning outcomes, such as self learning, use of industrial tools, time management, information retrieval, collaboration, etc. Depending on the information to convey, different types of visualisations are considered, ranging from graphs to starbusts and from scatter plots to heatmaps.


  • learning analytics; learning activity visualisation; educational datasets; experimental datasets; learning activity; visualisation; data visualisation; student monitoring; attention metadata; observation; virtual machine; technology-enhanced learning; datatel