Using eLearning data to answer questions about teaching and learning

As students progress through eLearning environments, they generate large amounts of data.  These traces—the digital records of online activities, assignments, courses, and degree programs—represent a robust portrait of student behavior, from millisecond-level click patterns to semester enrollment records, at scale.  In ways that had previously been unobservable, researchers can now begin to rigorously assess questions like: How are students studying?   Are they engaging appropriately with learning materials?  How does this activity relate to course performance?  How do these relationships change with different students and courses? 

The eLearning Research and Practice Lab is a link between IU faculty researchers and the systems that store eLearning records, helping to enable systematic and sustained research. The lab also offers an interdisciplinary discourse community on the constructive and responsible usage of these data assets.

For more information, contact Benjamin Motz, Director of eLearning Research and Practice Lab.

Mission Statement

The eLearning Research and Practice Lab leads advances in understanding of students’ eLearning behaviors, performance, and outcomes, and their associated social contexts, through cutting-edge research that addresses practical and theoretical questions at the intersection of learning, education, and technology. Our research is collaborative — we empower faculty affiliates to rigorously and responsibly examine student eLearning, and to contribute their insights and expertise to an interdisciplinary research community. Through this work, we develop new evidence-based practices, interventions, and tools that advance student learning at Indiana University and beyond.


Photo of Robert McDonald

Dr. Benjamin Motz


Dr. Stacy Morrone

Senior Advisor

Joshua Quick

Principal Learning Data Analyst

eLearning Data

The lab’s principle data resource is the Unizin Data Platform (UDP), a secure architecture that supports the Unizin Common Data Model, an integrated representation of a wide range of institutional data sources in a single holistic structure. Processes for provisioning access to the UDP for research purposes are currently under development, in collaboration with Data Stewards, the Learning Analytics team in UITS Learning Technologies, and the lab’s advisory board.