Utilizing Learning Analytics in Small Institutions: A Study of Performance of Adult Learners in Online Classes

  • Ellina ChernobilskyEmail author
  • Susan Hayes


Understanding what learning analytics can and cannot do is extremely important for small, tuition-driven colleges and universities with limited resources and smaller datasets. Online learning has become an appealing course delivery format for students, especially adult students who balance studies with work. For the university, offering online courses provides an opportunity for the recruitment and retention of adult students. To understand how adult students perform in online courses, the researchers studied archival data from 547 online undergraduate course registrants from a 2-year period. The dataset was mined to determine trends and patterns of student success, as determined by the final grade earned in the online courses. The analysis revealed that adult students have higher failure rates and lower average grades as compared to traditional students, particularly in accelerated 7-week format courses. In addition, students had lower success rates in foundational core curriculum courses, which are the basis of learning key content and competencies. The results of the study suggest that student success issues can be identified with analyzing even small datasets. The results may inform college leaders about potential issues as well as new ways to help students achieve.


Learning analytics Adult students Online learning Retention Tuition-driven liberal arts university 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Caldwell UniversityCaldwellUSA

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