What makes a good dashboard, and how can I create my own?


With the advent of learning analytics, dashboards have become increasingly used in education to help teachers, students, administrators, and designers. There are three common types of dashboards that have received some attention: student-facing learning analytics dashboards, teacher-facing learning analytics dashboards, and designer-facing continuous improvement dashboards. Each of these types of dashboards has a unique purpose and accompanying design considerations (Kemsley, 2018), but the overarching purpose of each is to coalesce lots of data down to manageable, actionable bits and to present this information to targeted viewers in a way that will help them improve learning (either for themselves or for someone else).

arc_dashboard.pngIn terms of ARC, all dashboards emphasize comprehension—attempting to help the viewer understand the meaning of underlying analytics data. Appeal is also very important, however, because viewing so much data can be wearying and confusing to viewers, and paying attention to design details that make dashboards pleasing and interesting will help encourage its use. Retention is the least important of the three for dashboards, because it is assumed that viewers will return to the dashboard when they need new insights on the data and that anything they see is readily actionable without having to remember details for an extended period.

For this project, you will create a mockup for a dashboard of your choice, focusing on helping either students, teachers, or designers to make sense of data.


Create a mockup of your own, original dashboard using Adobe Illustrator or another program.



Tutorial Videos

Creating Graphs in Adobe Illustrator

Image preview of a YouTube video
Watch on YouTube https://edtechbooks.org/-KHi

How to Create Graphs in Adobe Illustrator

Image preview of a YouTube video
Watch on YouTube https://edtechbooks.org/-IVsZ

Infographic Dashboard

Image preview of a YouTube video
Watch on YouTube https://edtechbooks.org/-DgAL

Evaluation Criteria

  Unsatisfactory Basic Competent Professional
Color Color is not used or is distracting, disharmonious, or confusing. Color is used in a non-distracting manner … … that enhances visibility … … and enhances meaning and aesthetics.
Layout The layout is either cluttered or sparse. The layout gives sufficient space to all elements, …  … organizing them in an aesthetic manner … … that fosters readability and instant recognition.
Graphics Few original graphics are used, or graphics are poorly constructed, not discernible, or distracting. Many original graphics are used (e.g., illustrations, graphs, icons) … … that are clearly discernible for what they are … … and improve aesthetics in a professional-looking manner.
Font Fonts are not used or are inappropriate, inconsistent, or frequently changing. Appropriate fonts and text sizes are used … … in a consistent manner … … that only changes to enhance meaning (e.g. preattentive attributes).
Topic The topic is unimportant, too broad, or otherwise not memorable. The topic is important, … … sufficiently focused, … … and memorable.
Visualization Visuals do not effectively support the memorability of the information/data. Visuals effectively support memorability of the information/data … … by effectively illustrating the content … … in an unforgettable manner.
Citation Citations for information/data are not provided. Citations for information/data are provided … … and are trustworthy … … and include multiple sources.
Type The type of infographic does not align well with the information/data presented. The type of infographic effectively presents the content … … in a manner that enhances meaning … … and could not be presented as well via alternate infographic types.
Organization The organization of content has no discernible flow. The organization of content has a discernible flow … … that allows for quick understanding … … and enhances meaning (e.g. flowing from general concepts to specifics).


Kemsley, B. (2018). Continuous Improvement Dashboards. In R. Kimmons (Ed.), The Students' Guide to Learning Design and Research. EdTech Books. Retrieved from https://edtechbooks.org/studentguide/continuous_improvement

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