Survey: Higher ed leaders prioritize institutional analytics over learning analytics


Over 60 percent of colleges and universities have an analytics programs in place, and a majority of higher education institutions are investing in data analytics programs for the purpose of improving operational efficiency, according to the results of a survey released Monday by Ellucian, a Virginia-based provider of higher education technology solutions.

Ellucian polled 200 higher education leaders, including presidents, provosts, CFOs, CIOs and CTOs, by phone between January and March 2018. Of the respondents, 58 percent said institutional analytics that improve operational efficiency are of greater value than learning analytics that improve academic performance.

A similar survey by Ellucian in 2017 found that 97 percent of students thought technologies that supported them outside of class, like those that optimize university operations, were just as important as teaching and learning technologies.

There are some obstacles to implementing data analytics programs, though. More than a third of respondents said that cultural barriers prevented the programs from being implemented. Of the cultural barriers, the most significant was an unwillingness to share data across departments and colleges.

The primary reason for that unwillingness, according to 44 percent of respondents, was a fear of losing power and influence. Other reasons included a fear of data misuse, and a lack of understanding of privacy/data-sharing rules.

University leaders are also split on the amount of investment necessary to fund data analytics programs. Just half think their institution is investing the appropriate amount, the survey found.

One-fifth of university leaders said they are planning to more than double their analytics budget in the next 12 to 18 months.