Celebrating 5 years of ‘iLearn Insights’ at Macquarie University

Shamim Joarder | Macquarie University

iLearn Insights was developed in 2018 as an online analytical application to help educators address the challenge of engaging, motivating and supporting students at Macquarie UniverUnit Engagement Metersity.  Winning the ASCILITE Innovation Award in 2019 provided inspiration to continue the development of iLearn Insights to the point where it not only makes a difference for Macquarie University, but after winning the ACODE TEL award at ASCILITE 2022, also sets an example for those engaged in the educational use of technologies in tertiary education.


The iLearn Insights application is embedded in teaching practice across Macquarie University allowing educators to identify students who are engaging or otherwise within the institutional online learning environment, thus allowing early intervention and ultimately improved retention. In contrast to systems that provide only static data reports, this well-established innovation, built in-house, enables educators to analyse and visualise student learning data in relation to access patterns, forum activity, media views, learning activity submission, grades and overall unit engagement. Educators can then take action using automated or targeted communication to commend high-achieving students, offer additional assistance to lower-performing students, or to recapture disengaged students.

The information provided to students is designed to be motivating and includes information such as the top five resources accessed by classmates; comparisons to the class average; clickable links; and support resources for students falling behind. Targeted timely feedback messages deliver real and significant improvements to the learning experience and educational outcomes of both domestic and international students at Macquarie University.

Over the last 5 years, iLearn Insights has grown to become an integral element enabling educators to foster student engagement within Macquarie University’s online learning environment. Over the period 1 Jan 2021 to 30 June 2022, over 95% of students acted on the personalised emails they received to re-engage with their online learning.

graph of engagement after receivingfeedback

iLearn Insights enables educators to teach with a greater depth of knowledge of their students – how they are progressing, whether they are falling behind or not, whether they are engaging with learning materials and activities etc. It allows educators to better cater for diversity, provide targeted assistance to those students most in need, and gives insights on unit and assessment design.

A new Quiz Insight function analyses student responses and performance across every question within a quiz making it possible for educators to decide whether to add, delete or modify quiz questions and decide if additional learning support resources are required.

“Not only do I personally recognise the importance of iLearn insights, it was also reiterated to me by many impacted stakeholders across the university.”

Professor Dominique Parrish Pro Vice-Chancellor Learning & Teaching, Macquarie University

The ongoing development of iLearn Insights is driven by collaboration with users (academic and professional staff) requesting features to automate their daily repetitive work. As a result, staff feel a sense of ownership of iLearn Insights and this is the key to it’s ongoing success. Recent staff suggestions have led to the development and enhancement of functions providing the ability to automate all emails for the whole session, determine the current location country for students, check Zoom participation and Echo360 video views. These requests are implemented in such a way that the functionalities are beneficial to a wider cross-section of the user group. Developing this application in collaboration with the central learning technology support team, and faculty teaching staff has allowed the creation of a tool that takes identified data-related issues from individual users or teams and shares the solutions with all learning and teaching staff across the university.

In addition to the 2019 ASCILITE Innovation Award and 2022 ACODE TEL Award, iLearn Insights also won the 2022 CAUDIT Award and 2021 Vice Chancellor’s Learning Innovation Award.

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