In our first article on Google Analytics we looked at the basics of analytics; how do users find your web site, what pages are your users looking at and how do they interact with that content.
The next natural step is to look at the data in a little more detail and use some of the slightly more advanced features to influence the structure of your site and its content and ultimately the users of your site.
We’re going to use the example of a large independent Sixth Form and see how certain changes are influencing the habits of users. The principles apply to any school or college, whatever the size.
After reading 'An Ethic of Excellence' by Ron Berger I was inspired to try and use his core principles to make a difference in my own school.
One of the core principles that struck me from Berger's work was his strong belief that 'to truly engage learners, there needs to be a real audience for their work'. This really rang true for me and took me back to a comment that Julia Skinner made about her fantastic work with the 100 word challenge. During a TeachMeet presentation, Julia asked us all 'how an audience of one person (us, the teacher), can be that motivating'?
If the work always stays on our desk and never goes any further, we are only just scratching the surface in terms of student motivation to do their best. Julia continues to organise a weekly 100 word challenge to engage students in writing, knowing that they'll receive 'real comments' from 'real people' through the power of blogging – hence the increased motivation coming from having a real audience.