GOOGLE ANALYTICS: AN INTERESTING TOOL FOR TEACHING
For some years, with the advancement of information and communication technologies and the Internet, a new field of study has been developed, related to the collection and use of information in the network. This field, as it happened before the appearance and development of the internet, was mainly focused on areas such as advertising and marketing. Obtaining data on consumption, customs and trends in certain segments of the population was and is of key importance for many companies. These companies and, fundamentally, those dedicated to market studies used direct or indirect surveys, direct consumption data, several economic, social and population studies, and also other less transparent sources of information. However, the expansion of the Internet has meant the existence of billions of Terabytes of data that are out there circulating through the network and ready to be collected, analyzed and interpreted by experts or information processing gurus. This democratization of information has meant that this activity is not carried out only by companies related to marketing, but extends to other areas. Among them, education.
But how can the data offered by the internet be used in the field of education? Fundamentally, in the analysis of the interactions (actions) of the users in webs and the so-called virtual learning environments or Learning Management Systems (LMS). In many cases, or at least in its most basic conception, web analytics refers to the study of student clicks, since many tools are based on the interactions carried out in the virtual web learning environment. However, the goal is not limited to finding the number of clicks a web page has on a day, a week or a month, or detect from which location users connect to the web. The real objective is to expand the analysis of the flow of clicks using events and activities; that is, diversifying the user experience within a web. In this way we can know in which parts or in what kind of spaces, activities, educational resources, questionnaires ... are more interactions.
What does this study provide us? Usage data (number of views, time spent, participation in the forums ...) of these different activities, which we can relate, for example, to the different levels of learning, sex, previous studies, psychological profiles ... In what way does it benefit us as teachers? For example, in determining what types of activities our students prefer and in which they learn more and better ... and faster. Mastering web analytics will give us many answers about the behavior of students in learning platforms.
In the process of learning analytics, the traditional steps of the marketing world are also identified: collection, analysis and action. Among the tools for web data collection one stands out from others: Google Analytics. Robustness, ease of implementation, extension of use and amount of useful data obtained are the main advantages. Google Analytics allows you to do everything described above simply by incorporating a bit of code to the website where we have our materials and tools.