LASI 2014 Workshop (Tuesday)

Data visualization and learning analytics, pt 2

Paper prototyping for visual learning analytics

Kim Ducharme, Northeastern University and CAST)

Ge Vue, CAST

Boris Goldowsky, CAST

Garron Hillaire, CAST

Keywords: theory of change, learning analytics; rapid prototyping, participatory design;  evaluation

Abstract: Given the focus is on Learning we will facilitate a process around shaping and refining both an idea for data visualization and a theory of change on how the design is attempting to setup administrator/teacher/student interactions that result in a change of behavior. We will introduce what we mean by “theory of change informing design” and then move into a short introduction to paper prototyping by working in small groups on the actual development of a data visualization paper prototype.

Once the paper prototypes are somewhat mature, we will introduce simple evaluation techniques (think aloud, walkthrough, …). Participants will then apply these techniques to evaluate their own designs and those from other groups. Holding the theory of change as the core criteria for evaluation. Based on the evaluation outcomes, participants will iterate at least once over their original design. The workshop will conclude with a short discussion to consolidate the opportunities and problems in research on visualization for learning analytics and TEL.


A rough paper prototype, experience connecting data visualization to educational theory, some initial ideas around evaluation of the data visualization that could inform research design of the data visualization.


We will use a process inspired by Nicholas Felton and others that has been modified to fit into the education sector around a theory of change.

0. Start with a theory of change.

1. Ask a question - How can a data visualization represent an aspect of the theory?

2. Research the answer - prototype a variety of solutions and select best option to explore.

3. Mockup the data - illustrate how the data visualization would look for a variety of users

4. Edit and design

We will close the session discussing participants designs and exploring potential evaluation strategies leveraging the theory of change for evaluation.


None.  However, Participants who have taken the Bring Your Own Idea – Visual Learning Analytics workshop on Monday can further evolve their idea and sketches.


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