What are Learning Analytics?

Learning analytics is an educational application of web analytics, a science that is commonly used by businesses to analyze commercial activities, identify spending trends, and predict consumer behavior. Education is embarking on a similar pursuit into data science with the aim of learner profiling, a process of gathering and analyzing large amounts of detail about individual student interactions in online learning activities. The goal is to build better pedagogies, empower students to take an active part in their learning, target at-risk student populations, and assess factors affecting completion and student success. For learners, educators, and researchers, learning analytics is already starting to provide crucial insights into student progress and interaction with online texts, courseware, and learning environments used to deliver instruction. Students are beginning to experience the benefits of learning analytics as they engage with mobile and online platforms that track data to create responsive, personalized learning experiences.

INSTRUCTIONS: Enter your responses to the questions below. This is most easily done by moving your cursor to the end of the last item and pressing RETURN to create a new bullet point. Please include URLs whenever you can (full URLs will automatically be turned into hyperlinks; please type them out rather than using the linking tools in the toolbar).

Please "sign" your contributions by marking with the code of 4 tildes (~) in a row so that we can follow up with you if we need additional information or leads to examples- this produces a signature when the page is updated, like this: - Larry Larry Jan 25, 2011

(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • As I have mentioned in another context earlier today, accommodating the many new types of students we enroll these years, is a major challenge for higher education. This technology will make it possible for us to adapt out teaching to the needs of the students, and developing new ways of teaching (also tehcnology-based ones) will be much more informed and qualified when we use LA. Much needed. - ole ole Oct 9, 2014
  • one of the issues about learning analytics is that thee measure things that quantifiable. That is why organisations like Knewton & Khan Academy focus on discrete learning items (eg mathematics & science) rather than things which require argument or different perspectives. Multiple choice presupposes answers rather than divergent thinking- learning analytics may not yet be capable of fully accommodating this kind of learning. - n.wright n.wright Oct 15, 2014
  • add your response here

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • There are both moral and ethical issues raised in the application of Learning analytics. Who owns the data ? how is it used ? (- paul.hollins paul.hollins Oct 14, 2014) - helga helga Oct 20, 2014 - jochen.robes jochen.robes Oct 27, 2014 - momillard momillard Oct 28, 2014
  • Without robust interoperability specifications and standards add data risks being stored in silo's (physical and technical) (- paul.hollins paul.hollins Oct 14, 2014) - momillard momillard Oct 28, 2014
  • The use of big data in learning, not solely to analyze student performance, but to afford students an authentic opportunity to engage in creative inquiry, experimentation, and innovation. A good start is to look at Pentland's living labs for social sciences, "measuring entire social organisms -- groups, companies, and whole communities -- on a millisecond-by-millisecond basis for up to years at a time." http://chronicle.com/article/The-Science-of-Us/149263/?cid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en - Mark.fink Mark.fink Oct 15, 2014 - momillard momillard Oct 28, 2014
  • One of big issues is over definition. when talking to colleagues there is confusion over what is being referred to. When looking at the issue there's probably 3 sets of connected data. (1) Asset Analytics (data about an object or asset), (2) Learner Analytics, where an individual touches systems, generates data based on action, and can include asset analytics (3) Learning Analytics, about a chunk of learning - module, programme or course. This is a collection of learner analytics plus external data about quality, feedback and performance. The key is to turn this into meaningful information easily assimilated and understood by the student. Audience is also key, students will require different information to that required by the institution. - neil.witt neil.witt Oct 27, 2014

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on higher education?

  • Used effectively Learning analytics should improve student retention , and help achieve a better student (more personalised learning experience) and highlight where extra support is required at an early stage (- paul.hollins paul.hollins Oct 14, 2014) - helga helga Oct 24, 2014 Jefrina- jefrina.jamaluddin jefrina.jamaluddin Oct 27, 2014 - momillard momillard Oct 28, 2014
  • one impact might be to further atomise learning (which is in complete cultural opposition, for example, to Maori ways of understanding what learning is and how it should happen) and strip cultural context - yet this is one of the deeply important things about learning - context and culture heavily influence learning and understanding since prior knowledge affects everyone's meaning starting point - n.wright n.wright Oct 15, 2014
  • It's not just HE. If we can dashboard student performance, link it to badges a student can see there progress throughout all learning. LA therefore needs to be portable as part of a process of lifelong learning - neil.witt neil.witt Oct 27, 2014
  • If not designed and implemented properly, there is a potential negative impact of learning analytics on higher education. There is one view of LA that provides a reductionist view of learning as discrete and disconnected data points, and by putting administrators in charge of data dashboards with a top down approach, could quickly lead to trouble. Instead, learning analytics tools and dashboards should be provided to instructors and students for their own use, with proper training on how to interpret results and create plans of self and co-reflection to create a more engaged and humanistic learning ecosystem. - momillard momillard Oct 28, 2014

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

The Learning Analytics Community Exchange is an EU funded project in the 7th Framework Programme involving nine partners from across Europe. LACE partners are passionate about the opportunities afforded by current and future views of learning analytics (LA) and educational data mining (EDM) but we are concerned about missed opportunities and failing to realise value. The 30 month project aims to integrate communities working on LA and EDM from schools, workplace and universitiesby sharing effective solutions to real problems.
LACE will:
  • Organise a range of activities designed to actively and passively integrate communities that are conducting LA/EDM research, early practitioner adopters, and those who are building first-generation commercial or open-source software. This integration would be used to stimulate creativity and accelerate the identification of viable and effective solutions to real problems, and hence to drive both current research and technology transfer.
  • Create and curate a knowledge base of evidence. This will capture evidence for the effectiveness and the relative desirability of the outcomes resulting from use of various tools and techniques.
  • Actively participate in the exploration of plausible futures for learning analytics and EDM by combining the creation of imaginative scenarios with participatory workshops and structured methods including a Policy Delphi to assess differences of opinion about the feasibility and desirability of possible future states, thus informing future research and policy agendas.
The LACE project brings together existing key European players in the field of learning analytics & EDM who are committed to build communities of practice and share emerging best practice in order to make progress towards four objectives. (- paul.hollins paul.hollins Oct 14, 2014)

  • Objective 1 – Promote knowledge creation and exchange

  • Objective 2 – Increase the evidence base

  • Objective 3 – Contribute to the definition of future directions

  • Objective 4 – Build consensus on interoperability and data sharing (- paul.hollins paul.hollins Oct 14, 2014)

  • There's a fair bit of interest in Learning Analytics in the UK, with Jisc developing a co-designed set of projects - http://analytics.ideascale.com/, this is worth a read as the projects propesed are form the HE community - neil.witt neil.witt Oct 27, 2014

  • The Society for Learning Analytics Research (SoLAR) is an inter-disciplinary network of leading international researchers who are exploring the role and impact of analytics on teaching, learning, training and development, of which my university is one of the founding member institutions. http://solaresearch.org - momillard momillard Oct 28, 2014

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