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Development of a Novel Learning Analytics Dashboard to Monitor and Evaluate Remote Learning (Advert Reference: RDF21/EE/CIS/DELEAJAYIOpeyemi)

Faculty of Engineering and Environment

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Dr O Dele-Ajayi No more applications being accepted Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

A steady proliferation of digital technologies in everyday life has led to an increased interest in their application to education. As pandemics continue to cause disruptions to traditional educational systems across the world, Educational Technology (EdTech) advocates and researchers predict that more learning and teaching will happen via digital technologies, now and in the future. Recent advances in technologies have resulted in a significant rise in the use of Learning Management Systems (LMSs), Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), educational games and mobile apps targeted at learners at various levels.

Alongside this increase in the provision of digital learning platforms, there has been a corresponding rise in interest to understand learners’ behaviour, learning and engagement on these platforms. Educators, developers and researchers are constantly reviewing and analysing the data and the patterns from this to explore how to improve the learner experience. One approach being used is Learning Analytics Dashboards (LADs). Many LADs have the capability to capture course enrolment data, assessments attempts, learner activity details like page clicks, time spent online and drop off rates. However, there are several limitations to LADs discussed in literature. One of the most common ones is the lack of theoretical underpinnings to the learning process, for example, learning science theory. Considering the pivotal role that digital online learning currently has in education, there is a major concern that current LADs do not offer sufficiently rigorous insights into the actual learning process of learners. This is because most of the LADs do not go beyond providing basic learner performance indicators such as aggregated engagement statistics, how much content has been completed, how much time was spent, and how each learner is progressing through the course materials.

This PhD project will combine design approaches with theories in learning sciences to develop and trial a novel Learning Analytics Dashboard, and in the process explore the following question-
• How should LADs be developed to move beyond basic metrics like completion rate of course materials, time spent online, in-course and end of course assessments to more useful indicators of learning?
This research builds on the current work of the research team in Northumbria University’s Digital Learning Lab around remote learning, active learning and technology-enabled learning.

Prospective candidates should have programming experience and ideally an interest in educational technology.

The principal supervisor for this project is Dr. Opeyemi Dele-Ajayi.

Eligibility and How to Apply:
Please note eligibility requirement:
• Academic excellence of the proposed student i.e. 2:1 (or equivalent GPA from non-UK universities [preference for 1st class honours]); or a Masters (preference for Merit or above); or APEL evidence of substantial practitioner achievement.
• Appropriate IELTS score, if required.
• Applicants cannot apply for this funding if currently engaged in Doctoral study at Northumbria or elsewhere.

For further details of how to apply, entry requirements and the application form, see

Please note: Applications that do not include a research proposal of approximately 1,000 words (not a copy of the advert), or that do not include the advert reference (e.g. RDF21/EE/CIS/DELEAJAYIOpeyimi) will not be considered.
Deadline for applications: 29 January 2021
Start Date: 1 October 2021
Northumbria University takes pride in, and values, the quality and diversity of our staff. We welcome applications from all members of the community.

Funding Notes

The studentship is available to Home and International (including EU) students, and includes a full stipend, paid for three years at RCUK rates (for 2020/21, this is £15,285 pa) and full tuition fees.


1. Fincham, E., Whitelock-Wainwright, A., Kovanović, V., Joksimović, S., van Staalduinen, J.P. and Gašević, D., 2019, March. Counting clicks is not enough: Validating a theorized model of engagement in learning analytics. In Proceedings of the 9th international conference on learning analytics & knowledge (pp. 501-510).
2. Gašević, D., Dawson, S. and Siemens, G., 2015. Let’s not forget: Learning analytics are about learning. TechTrends, 59(1), pp.64-71.
3. Lodge, J.M. and Lewis, M.J., 2012. Pigeon pecks and mouse clicks: Putting the learning back into learning analytics.

Recent publications by supervisors relevant to this project (optional)

Dele-Ajayi, O., Sanderson, J., Strachan, R. and Pickard, A., 2016, October. Learning mathematics through serious games: An engagement framework. In 2016 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE) (pp. 1-5). IEEE.

Dele-Ajayi, O., Strachan, R., Pickard, A.J. and Sanderson, J.J., 2019. Games for Teaching Mathematics in Nigeria: What Happens to Pupils’ Engagement and Traditional Classroom Dynamics? IEEE Access, 7, pp.53248-53261.

Dele-Ajayi, O., Strachan, R., Anderson, E.V. and Victor, A.M., 2019, October. Technology-Enhanced Teaching: A Technology Acceptance Model to Study Teachers’ Intentions to Use Digital Games in the Classroom. In 2019 IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (FIE) (pp. 1-8). IEEE.

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