However, I've been slow in analyzing the data because I've been a little confounded as to how, exactly, to go about it. You see, the data have been collected by the learning management system (LMS), but not in a way that is conducive for research. In order to effectively analyze quantitative data in a research study, you need to have all of the raw data for each participant neatly organized into a single line of information. By raw data, I mean every single detail, such as individual answers to specific questions, not just totals. Put into spreadsheet terms, each person needs to be a row and all of the data for that person needs to be the columns. Then, I can import this into a statistical software tool, such as SPSS.
Collecting Data in a Learning Management System
Unfortunately, most LMSs do not organize course data in this way. It's true the LMS has a grade book that automatically keeps track of all course participants, but this only keeps track of aggregate data, such as subscores on individual quizzes, surveys, and the like. Again, I need the raw data. The LMS does keep track of the raw data, but only within individual activities. A good example for my needs is a series of surveys I ask participants to complete at the beginning, middle, and end of the course with questions such as the following:
Which of the following best describes your learning goal at this moment?
- I intend to fully participate in the course and complete it.
- I intend to fully participate in most of the course.
- I intend mainly to browse and participate in a few activities.
- I will probably just browse around with little actual participation.
- I really don't have a specific learning goal at this point.