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Designing and evaluating a big data analytics approach for predicting students’ success factors


Reducing student attrition in tertiary education plays a significant role in the core mission and financial well-being of an educational institution. The availability of big data source from the Learning Management System (LMS) can be analysed to help with the attrition issues. This study aims to use an integrated Design Science Research (DSR) methodology to develop and evaluate a novel Big Data Analytical Solution (BDAS) as an educational decision support artefact. The BDAS as DSR artefact utilises Artificial Intelligence (AI) approaches to predict potential students at risk. Identifying students at risk helps to take timely intervention in the learning process to improve student academic progress for increasing their retention rate. To evaluate the performance of the predictive model, we compare the accuracy of the collection of representational AI algorithms in the literature. The study utilized an integrated DSR methodology founded on the similarities of DSR and design based research (DBR) to design and develop the proposed BDAS employing an specific evaluation framework that works on real data scenarios. The BDAS does not only aimto replace any existing practice but also support educators to implement a variety of pedagogical practices for improving students’ academic performance.


Despite the increasing demand for higher qualifications in the industry, a greater number of students discontinue their studies without completing a degree in comparison to the past, according to the statistical analysis of HE degrees completion in Australia [1]. On average 23% of the enrolled students in the tertiary sector left without completing the course [1, 2]. Student attrition is a challenging issue of higher education (HE) providers. The HE providers compete to acquire the students and find strategies to retain them. The tertiary institutions have been attentive towards the student numbers revolving around the declined enrolment, increased competition, retention rate, or attrition rate. Attrition is a natural part of higher education that can be defined by the number of non-completing students who leave their degree programs before finishing according to expected pre-schedule [3]. Several studies claimed that the attrition trend is significantly increased in Australia.

The incremental change in the attrition rate, as shown in Fig. 1, has multiple consequences ranging from social, and economic [4]. Student attrition not only negatively impacts the social interaction of individuals, but also results in negative financial consequences for students, institutions, and the economy. Students, not completing their education degree, fails to find better or appropriate career opportunities. HE providers lose revenue and reputation if students leave before finishing their education. Student attrition not only costs HE providers but the government as well. Non-completing students are unable to peruse progressive careers to earn a well-paid income. Consequently, this may bring students into a situation of not being able to pay back their study loans [5]. According to the Parliament of Australia [6], the total amount of outstanding study loans of approximately 3 million Australians was $68.7 billion in 2020 and approximately 16% of which is not expected to be repaid. Existing studies have been introduced the area of curriculum design [7, 8] and student performance improvement (given in the next section), but student attrition has not been given much attention. Considering these factors, the Department of Education, Science, and Training (DEST) has emphasised student attrition recently as one of the indicating factors to improve the performance of HE providers [9, 10]. This has opened a persistent opportunity for the researchers to study HE student attrition and measure different factors and strategies [11] to reduce student attrition.

Fig. 1
figure 1

(adopted from [1])

Statistical analysis of TEQSA data for student attrition trend

In the relevant literature [12], student academic progress is considered one of the key determinants of student attrition. The providers can extend academic support to students through quality learning and teaching to enhance their academic performance. Early and timely identification of students at risk by using any Information System (IS) can support the HE providers to take appropriate measures effectively to enhance student academic progress [13,14,15]. For example, an Educational Decision Support System (DSS) can be considered a paramount IS to support the appropriate relevant decision [16]. The management can arrange useful early interventions that can help students to cope well in their academics and improve their academic progress. This can increase the probability of not going into the path of leaving studies leading to a low attrition rate.

Big data is defined by multiple Vs (e.g. volume, variety, velocity etc.) characteristics [17]. However, three innate characteristics of big data are Velocity defines the rate at which data is generated, Volume defines the vast scale of the data and Variety defines various sources and different formats of the data [18]. In HE, educational big data is gathered from different educational management activities, academic or non-academic activities of student. Voluminous and different set of student data is generated from educational information systems like Student management information systems, LMS or administrative management system such as demographic and socio-economic data, personal, social, enrolment data, academic attributes-based data, and LMS log data [19]. Big data analytics processes large heterogeneous datasets and supports data visualization, adaptive learning, and feedback systems to provide valuable insight for educators [20,21,22] and widely adopted in educational sector. Big data analytics can be classified as descriptive analytics, diagnostics analytics, decisive analytics, prescriptive analytics, and predictive analytics [23]. Machine Learning (ML), Cluster analysis, Text mining, Knowledge domain and reasoning based approaches, decision making methods, pattern matching, search and optimization theory algorithms and semantic analysis are well-known big data analytics techniques and approaches in AI discipline [24,25,26]. Different AI based big data analysis techniques can be employed on these type of bid data to identify students at risk of failing by predicting their academic performance. AI based data analytics techniques can be applied to these datasets to automate the analytical model building to achieve the aim of predicting academic performance. These AI based predictive models can embed into an Educational DSS to support educational management to plan and offer support mechanisms that are beneficial and effective for struggling students to assist them in attaining their academic success goals.

In this research, we adopted an innovative research methodology to develop and evaluate a novel BDAS for accurately predicting the students at risk of failing in the early weeks of the semester by utilizing a trained model on the student LMS interaction dataset. This BDAS supports educators to focus more on teaching and research, instead of undertaking tedious and inefficient administrative duties which can be biased due to human intervention.

This study has three novelties. First, the innovative research methodology is grounded on the similarities of Design Science Research (DSR) and Design-based research (DBR) for developing and evaluating BDAS. DSR together with DBR are applied in educational artefact design for various technological interventions for enhancing learning flexibility and outcome. The DSR and DBR has been viewed to symbolise the designer mind and behaviour that are situated within the pragmatic philosophical tradition. DSR concerns on functioning artefacts while DBR does give importance to design novel artefacts applying technology-in-practice to educational settings. We anticipated that this methodological view suits our research to study the application of ML technologies for improving student learning. Second, the BDAS is based on LMS data to detect potential students who can fail earlier in the semester to enhance student learning with accurate and timely intervention. Third, an extended evaluation framework is used to rigorously evaluate the BDAS based on simulation of real scenarios. The timely detection and measurement will improve the student progress which will result in increased retention and decreased attrition with a positive impact on the student, HE providers, and the economy.

The remainder of the paper is organized as follows. First, we review the educational environment, research methodology, BDAS, and evaluation framework to identify the gap to explore. After the background, the paper defines the Integrated DSR methodology. It also details the major components of the research including the hybrid methodology framework, artefact design, and evaluation framework. Subsequently, the study presents the results and contributions made. In the final section, the study summarized the study and suggests future directions.

Background and related work

Recently, AI has been adopted in the computing field extensively and effectively. The benefits and enhancement due of AI in the education sector have been highlighted in the literature. A few examples of the application of AI in the educational sector, but not limited to, are applications of data analytics, predicting student enrolments, a recommendation system for career pathway or resource management, adaptive tutoring, prediction of student readiness for employment, monitoring and predicting student academic performance or identifying struggling students. Table 1 presents a brief overview of the related previous works.

Table 1 A brief overview of related work

Existing studies does not focus on the LMS big data to predict academic performance earlier in the learning pathways. Most of studies has used data generated from transitional on-campus educational settings or completely online settings and not much studies studied data generated by student interaction with LMS in blended learning. Also, most of the existing research did not highlight the significance of identification of at-risk students in early stages of studies. There is a need to investigate a real-time automated analytical solution to identify student at risk of failing earlier in blended learning environment to timely offer strategies and remedial measures to keep the student academic progress on track. Furthermore, most of the related studies from research methodology and DSR artefact construction and evaluation are insufficient considering: that these studies did not use integrated DSR and DBR methodology to layout the study to design and develop an artefact; these studies Big data analytics approaches but do not employ DSR or DBR or integrated DSR paradigm; these studies did not evaluate the DSR artefacts according to their complexity. However, existing literature can be leveraged to extrapolate to achieve the objective of this study, thus, forming the foundation of this study.

Big data, LMS and big data analytics

Big data technologies can play a significant role in improving data processing, data storage, data analytics and visualization [27]. Big data creates significant impact on the transformation of learning process and adoption of relevant innovative technologies [13]. The overview of big data analytics in HE is illustrated in Fig. 2. LMS platforms are considered as major source of big data and is an essential application to plan, deliver, monitor, and assess learning process e.g., Moodle, Blackboard, Canvas, Forma LMS, OpenOLAT. Moodle and Blackboard are most popular LMS platforms. LMS platform has three key purposes: (i) management of digital content material and student access record, (ii) management of assessments and student progress, (iii) management of student feedback and interaction [28].

Fig. 2
figure 2

Overview of big data analytics in HE

LMS generates rich and huge volume of data which increases the need of innovative solutions to improve learning and education management. There is also an emerging requirement of LMS integrated tools to interpret and manipulate the data generated by LMS [28, 29].

Big data is produced by users (e.g. educators, administrators, and students) interacting with LMS in different manners. For example, educators upload material to deliver digital course materials to their students and student access these for learning, students attempt the LMS based tests related to a specific concept or students submits the assessment documents on LMS. Big data analytics applies set of analytical techniques to extract useful information and provide insight from big educational data related to students’ learning behaviours, assessment scores, student learning styles, student logging in information, time spend on a task/module, assessment submission patterns, most visited page/content, completing a task or module or posting details about extracurricular activities [30,31,32].

Big data analytics allows to identify the real learning pattern of the students more accurately than the traditional practices. Big data analytics supports HE to make better and informed decision making based on the big data generated by LMS. It supports [28, 31, 33,34,35]:

  • Customized and adaptive learning for better learning path

  • Plagiarism detection in student submissions to improve academic integrity

  • Student performance prediction for better course deliver planning

  • Course Selection or Recommendation System

  • Identification of students at risk based on their behaviour pattern to plan and delivery appropriate and timely interventions

  • Dropout prediction

  • Student participation and engagement measurement tracking to enhance learning experience

  • Strategic planning to achieve HE goals

AI algorithms take all input data at once and process it to provide output, which is not possible in big data analytics due to its high velocity and huge volume. There are multiple approaches to solve this issue and apply AI algorithms on educational big data e.g., high-performing computing infrastructure, parallel processing approach and/or data processing platforms for data segmentation. In this study, data processing platform is suggested to deploy BDAS artefact [28, 31].Integrated Design Science Research Methodology.

Research methodology defines the guides and boundaries through which a study can be conducted ensuring its scientific value and significance. Researchers highlight research methodology as the most significant step to accomplish the purposes of the research. This study developed and used an innovative IS research methodology based on the similarities of two research approaches: DSR methodology from IS and Design based research (DBR) methodology. DBR is considered a DSR realization in the education sector to conduct research to develop and evaluate an BDAS as an IT and DSR artefact. DSR complements DBR and provides multi-paradigm perspectives to construct fundamental knowledge by researching social pragmatisms [36,37,38].

DSR approach suits the studies that will justify the research requirement and contribute to knowledge and development of the artefact [39]. For example, Miah et al. [40] have used the DSR framework to design a mobile based application for education; Carstensena and Bernhard [41] designed and improved teaching in the engineering education sector by utilizing the DSR methodology; Miah et al. [42] utilized DSR approach to extend mobile health information system; and Miah et al. [43] described development of the design of a DSS as method artefact. DBR methodology intends to achieve outcomes to improve student learning or enhanced understandings about teaching and learning or other educational phenomena [44]. The similarities among both methodologies are:

  • Both are problem solving methodologies

  • Both approaches design from a viable practical perspective

  • Both approaches contribute to the knowledge based

  • Both reflect on the nature of the theory

  • Both produce the theoretical and practical artefact

  • Both have an iterative cycle of design and rigorous evaluation

The study followed an integrated DSR methodology [45] consisting of five phases based on the similarities of DSR and DBR leveraging a variation of Peffer’s DSR Methodology [39]. The five phases, as shown in Fig. 3, are: (1) Problem Identification; (2) Solution analysis; (3) Artefact Design and Development; (4) Evaluation; (5) Outcome Communication.

Fig. 3
figure 3

Integrated DSR methodology

The study begins with a detailed problem description and analysis of existing studies to drive the design requirements and objective of designing an BDAS from the literature. This formulates the design principles of design and development of DSR artefact for a later phase by executing Systematic Literature Review and Meta Analysis. Next, the study evaluates the findings to establish design considerations for BDAS. In the third phase, BDAS as a DSR artefact is designed, developed, and evaluated formatively by using AI data analysis techniques (ML and DL algorithms). In the final phases, the summative evaluation is carried out and the outcomes of the study are communicated as a contribution to the knowledge area.

Artefact description

This section focuses on the design process of the BDAS that addresses the identified problem of attrition related to student at risk of failure earlier in the semester. It provides the overview of the BDAS, details about the dataset utilized by the BDAS, training iterations of the BDAS to help to explain the structure and functionality of the DSR artefact i.e. BDAS.

Problem identification and objectives of the artefact

In the initial phases of our integrated DSR research methodology, an extensive systematic literature review and meta-analysis (SLRM) was conducted about the application of AI based technology in HE regarding student academic progress. The systematic literature review aims to understand the trends of application of AI based technology to a wide spectrum related to monitoring and predicting student academic performance and identify the different AI algorithms and process of development of AI models. The SLRM is conducted by using the PRISMA [46] framework with defining a search protocol incorporating inclusion and exclusion criteria and providing rich findings. The SLRM highlighted the phases, algorithms and evaluation metrics used in the studies. These algorithms and evaluation metrics form the foundation of the design and development of BDAS.

The objective of designing and developing the BDAS is to train and evaluate a predictive model with classified data to predict the student’s academic progress. The predictive model must be sufficiently accurate to identify students who are at risk of failing. The prediction can assist educators to implement strategies to enhance student learning and improve their academic performance. BDAS can be integrated into coursework for timely and accurate identification of student academic progress, especially for the student at risk. This timely identification of students at risk supports earlier intervention to improve their academic performance. The generic computational model consists of Data collection, Data pre-processing, data analysis with algorithms and evaluation. This generic model is tailored for each iteration of the design and development phase for BDAS. Each iteration utilized various pre-processing techniques and different algorithms to achieve the objective of the BDAS. In case of educational big data, a large amount of real-time data is generated by LMS. The BDAS predictive model is trained on a set of historic LMS data of students’ interaction with LMS as demonstrated in this study.. A distributed big data processing platform is used for collecting incoming big data and creating data segmentations e.g., Apache Kafka and Spark. These real-time big data small segments are fed to BDAS via pipelines to be classified to predict students academic performance for enhanced students academic progress and better decision making. A distributed big data processing platform is used for collecting incoming big data and creating data segmentations. These batches of big data are classified by the BDAS to identify students at risk and the ML models take all input data simultaneously to generate output, which is not possible in BDAS due to the massive volume and high velocity of big data. There are various approaches to address this problem and apply AI algorithms to develop model on big educational data such as parallel processing techniques, high-performing computing infrastructure, data processing platforms for data partitioning. This study suggests adoption of data processing and handling platform for the BDA method architecture [28, 31]. However, this study primarily focuses on the design, development, and evaluation of the BDAS rather than the architectural environment of the BDAS. Figure 4 shows the process of design and development of DSR artefact as the BDAS.

Fig. 4
figure 4

Overview of BDAS as a DSR artefact

Artefact design and development

An AI based DSR artefact is a complex artefact and designed according to the requirements and objectives identified in previous phases. Design approaches developed around contextual knowledge and general practices lead to enhanced artefact design [47]. This study has used two sets of iterations to design and develop the BDAS as a predictive model based on existing approaches in literature: ML based predictive model; DL based predictive model. In this phase, we apply ML and DL algorithms to design and develop ML based and DL based predictive models as DSR artefacts to identify potential students at risk of failing accurately from a dataset based on student LMS interaction. This iterative approach in this phase provides continuous improvement of the construction of DSR artefact by evaluating various performance metrics by using the confusion matrix in each iteration. These performance metrics of different AI algorithms in each iteration are compared to select the best predictive model.

BDAS as a DSR artefact is constructed by a series of tasks consisting of Data collection, Data pre-processing, Data analysis with AI algorithms, Evaluation and successful decision marking [13, 48]. All these tasks are tailored to develop and evaluate ML and DL based predictive models. The workflow of training an AI based artefact is illustrated in Fig. 5.

Fig. 5
figure 5

Workflow of the rigorous and iterative phase of integrated DSR methodology to design, develop and trained BDAS as a DSR artefact

This study has sourced a freely available dataset the UCI (University of California, Irvine) ML repository [49] comprising 230,318 instances of students’ activities and interactions with LMS to train the predictive model. The dataset consists of 14 features including time-series based features i.e., Session number, Student number, Exercise number, Activity name abbreviation, Start time of the activity, End time of the activity, Idle time during activity, Mouse wheel movement count, Mouse wheel click count, count of Mouse left click, count of Mouse right click, Mouse movement count, count of Keystroke and final marks as given in the following Table 2.

Table 2 Features of the dataset used in the study

The dataset is pre-processed and normalized, and features are selected by correlational analysis to build a dimensional vector including categorised features. The dataset consists of multiple comma-separated value (csv) documents containing data regarding sessions and students. An additional csv document contains the final marks of each student who attended the session at the end of the semester shows the result of the student. During the data pre-processing, negative, empty or null values are eliminated from the dataset. The dimensional vector is built by aggregating each feature for each student and merging them with the total final marks for the students. The final marks of the students are converted into classification categorical variables i.e. “Pass” or “Fail”. Appropriate features are selected from the dataset from the 13 features and 1 categorical variable by using Correlation heat map to identify a +ve or −ve correlation with the final result (final total) as depicted in Fig. 5. For instance, the heat map shows that when keystroke has +ve correlation with final result i.e. when “keystroke” has high value then there is a higher probability that the final result (final total) will be higher value as well. This transformed dataset is then used to train the predictive model by using ML and DL algorithms to detect students at risk of failing.

Model improvement using multiple iterations aligns with the continuous improvement target of the artefact of our integrated DSR methodology. Each improvement iteration is executed to boost the predictive classification accuracy of the model and attain best suited model to develop BDAS. In the first iteration, ML model is trained using multiple ML algorithms and improved by tuning the classifiers with an ensemble technique Adaptive Boosting (AdaBoost). In the second improvement iteration, the dataset is balanced by applying data augmentation techniques such as Synthetic Minority Oversampling Technique (SMOTE) and different DL algorithms are applied to create the ML predictive model with improved prediction accuracy. In each model improvement iteration, different ML and DL techniques are used which derived from the literature review and analysis of the existing related works. The study has selected Decision tree classifiers as extensive existing work [50, 51] reveals that Decision tree based predictive models are simpler and exhibits better performance on educational data. Further, numerous studies have used ensemble techniques to develop predictive models to forecast the academic performance of the students [52,53,54]. In addition, MLP is selected as it is widely used to develop classification prediction modelling in the literature [55].

In the first iteration, five tree based ML supervised algorithms (J48, Random Forest, OneR, Decision Stump, NBTree,) are used to train and evaluate the predictive model. These tree based algorithms use a series of if–then decisions to generate highly accurate, easily interpretable predictions, to identify potential students at risk of failing. A booster ensemble technique is applied to the transformed dataset to further fine-tune it. The predictive model is trained and tested by using k-fold cross validation on the training and testing data using the above five ML supervised algorithm iteratively. In the final step, performance metrics are compared for all the predictive models based on five ML algorithms to select the most accurate predictive model to construct BDAS. In the real-time implementation of the BDAS, a data processing framework, e.g., Apache spark, will be used to receive and segment the real-time big data stream from LMS and decomposes the large data into small batches to be processed and classified by the BDAS predictive model.

In the second iteration of continuous improvement of the AI based artefact, two different data pre-processing techniques are used to modify the class distribution and augment the dataset to resolve the implications of an imbalance dataset. DL algorithms are made up of neural networks with several layers of differentiable nonlinear nodes. Three DL algorithms Long Short-term Memory (LSTM), Multi-layer perceptron (MLP) and Sequential Model (SM), are applied to train the augmented dataset which demonstrated higher classification accuracy of the prediction model and reduces false prediction. The higher classification accuracy and reduced false prediction mean a low instance of incorrectly not identifying students who are not at-risk, therefore addressing the objective of the general description of the BDAS as a DSR artefact.

Artefact evaluation

The evaluation phases focus on whether the developed artefact has achieved the purpose it is designed for and it is a vital phase of a study in the DSR domain. The evaluation of the developed artefact within its context is a vital component of the evaluation strategy [56]. In this study, BDAS as the artefact is evaluated by an innovative DSR evaluation framework to evaluate the utility, efficacy, and effectiveness [57, 58] of the artefact with hybrid evaluation requirements by using the Confusion matrix, given in Table 3. In addition, to train, test and evaluate an AI based predictive model the original dataset in sectioned into three sections i.e., Training dataset, Testing dataset and Validation dataset. The predictive model is trained and testing on the training dataset and testing dataset respectively during the construction of the predictive model. The trained predictive model is evaluated to define a generalize predictive model by using the validation dataset.

Table 3 The Confusion matrix to evaluate the performance of the BDAS predictive model

The efficacy and effectiveness of the BDAS have evaluated whether the artefact provides the desired output or not i.e., the high classification accuracy. The BDAS as DSR artefact is evaluated by an innovative evaluation framework, which extends Venable’s [59] Framework for Evaluation in Design Science (FEDS) and composed a series of formative and summative evaluation episodes. The innovative evaluation framework has extended the 2 and 4 steps of FEDS which are: (1) Define the evaluation goal(s), (2) Select the strategy, (3) Establish the properties to evaluate, and (4) Design and Develop the evaluation episodes. For fourth step, there is not much guidance available on how to plan and execute formative or summative evaluation episodes. In this innovative evaluation framework, the steps of each evaluation episodes are structured according to the phases of the IT-dominant BIE (Building, Intervention, and Evaluation) schema of the Action Design Research (ADR) [60]. The innovative evaluation framework emphasises on executing a formative evaluation in the very beginning of the study to evaluate the significance of the artefact. Later formative evaluation episodes as interim evaluations are executed to improve the artefact during the design and development phase. The formative evaluation episodes are executed using the training and testing dataset (as explained above). The comparison of classification accuracy from the formative evaluation episodes is presented in Fig. 6. The comparison clearly demonstrates that predictive model accuracy has been improved during the iterative design and development phase and MLP outperformed other models with an accuracy of 98.65% (see Table 3 below).

Fig. 6
figure 6

Comparison of formative evaluations of predictive models by using the Confusion matrix

The summative evaluation episodes highlight the outcome and impact of the implemented artefact in a context, thus performed towards the completion of the study. One of the summative episodes was performed to evaluate the effectiveness and efficacy of the predictive model by accurately identifying the students at risk early in the semester. Validation dataset is used to execute the terminal evaluation episode to evaluate the effectiveness the BDAS predictive model and generate a generalise the BDAS predictive model. The second and final summative episode, an ex-post evaluation, to evaluate the utility of real users with live unseen data is left for future work.

Discussion and conclusion

The study outlined an integration of two research methodologies DSR and DBR based on key similarities between them to design, construct and evaluate a new DSRartefact called BDAS.. The methodological view forms an appropriate research paradigm for designing, developing, and evaluating the BDAS artefact that can be implemented to enhance academic performance with timely intervention strategies for those who are at risk of failing and to support better decision making.

Several technological opportunities like learning analytics are emerging due to the big data from LMS in HE. The objective of BDAS artefact complements existing practices to support educators to discover the potential students at a very early risk in the semester and contact students to take remedial actions and mitigate the risk of dropping out. This paper presents the steps to design and develop an AI based BDAS by using integrated DSR methodology and rigorously evaluate to improve the accuracy of BDAS identifying the students at risk. The big data analytics approach contributes to the knowledge area as it utilized multiple AI techniques to improve the accuracy of predictive model i.e., performing correlations between LMS attributes to select attributes, tuning of classifier algorithm parameters, augmenting the dataset and applied both ML and DL algorithms to select best performing predictive model to construct BDAS artefact.

In a broader sense, our solution design research aimed to promote studies of predictive artefact design that have potentials to advance technology-based innovations in other aspects in education sector [61, 62]. Extension of the studies to design predictive artefact provide enormous opportunities for creation of new practical knowledge, although it is recommended that exploration of design research methodology such as design science [63, 64] can be of paramount integral study-task. Studies in future would enable advancement in designing more with innovations in other problem domains, such as for healthcare information management [65,66,67] and supply chain [68] for delivering predictive outcome.

This paper presents the two phases to design and develop predictive model to improve identification accuracy. This AI based BDAS can be an alarming system for educators to provide appropriate support by taking necessary steps to improve students academic progress. Our BDAS approach fills the gap of using data generated by student interaction with LMS in blended learning and automated process almost real-time and an early detection of student at risk of failing in blended learning environment, which is beneficial from both academic and administrative perspectives. In addition, in this paper, a great focus is given to evaluate the AI based BDAS by executing numerous formative and summative evaluation episodes. The innovative evaluation framework provides well designed phases including evaluation episode plans to guide future researchers about evaluating hybrid artefact like BDAS. The AI based BDAS as Educational DSS would be useful for students and educators from different HE providers (e.g., Massive open online course (MOOC), universities, Non-University Higher Education (NUHE) not to derail their learning pathway.

High performing computational infrastructure and interoperability of educational big data are required for practical deployment of BDAS in educational system. In the future, we will work on the full implementation of the BDAS and integration of the BDAS into the LMS of the students to evaluate the efficiency and utility in the real-time use of the BDAS by students and educators as clients. The extension will enhance the details about how the BDAS might support decision-making about which strategies to use for students identified at risk.

Availability of data and materials

The data used in the study is downloaded from public data repository and is available publicly.



Action Design Research


Adaptive Boosting


Artificial Intelligence


Big Data Analytical Solution


Building, Intervention, and Evaluation


Comma-separated value


Design-based research


Department of Education, Science, and Training


Deep Learning


Design Science Research


Decision Support System


Framework for Evaluation in Design Science


Higher Education


Information System


Learning Management System


Long Short-Term Memory


Machine Learning


Multi-layer perceptron


Massive open online course


Non-University Higher Education


Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses


Systematic literature review and meta-analysis


Sequential Model


Synthetic Minority Oversampling Technique


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Fahd, K., Miah, S.J. Designing and evaluating a big data analytics approach for predicting students’ success factors. J Big Data 10, 159 (2023).

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