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.

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

  • Learner Analytics has been on the horizon (pun intended)/radar screen since 2010-2011. Despite a growing body of research and a number of attempts of practical applications, LA stills seems in its infancy with regard to mainstreaming in schools. Some of the challenges with regard to the maturization of LA is related to methodological challenges as well as concerns related to privacy and Security.- oysteinjohannessen oysteinjohannessen Nov 21, 2014 - stefan stefan Dec 4, 2014- morten.dahl morten.dahl Dec 7, 2014- morten.soby morten.soby Dec 7, 2014
  • Learning Analytics has a great potential, but as said, it is not realized yet. Still there are a lot of issues concerning both which data is most relevant to gather and how these data can be used without running into concerns or issues related to privacy and security issues. - jan.hylen jan.hylen Dec 5, 2014
  • The learner’s use of the digital learning resources will leave so many easily picked traces that may be data to help performance and evaluation of the individual student. It is very important that LA is used in a formative way, so the teacher or the learner herself (or the learning tool itself) can intervene helping the student to improve. Privacy issues will be a hot issue. - jakob.harder jakob.harder Dec 2, 2014 - stefan stefan Dec 4, 2014- vibeke.klovstad vibeke.klovstad Dec 7, 2014- morten.soby morten.soby Dec 7, 2014
  • It’s true, that LA still seems to be in its infancy with regard to mainstream in schools. One of the main reasons can be explained with reference to The Society for Learning Analytics Research http://solaresearch.org/OpenLearningAnalytics.pdf (2011) and their proposal associates learning analytics with the kind of "big data" that are used in business intelligence:
    “The rapid development of “big data” methods and tools coincides with new management and measurement processes in corporations. The term “business intelligence” is used to describe this intersection of data and insight. When applied to the education sector, analytics fall into two broad sectors (Table 1): learning and academic.
    Learning analytics (LA) is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of data about learners and their contexts, for purposes of understanding and optimizing learning and the environments in which it occurs. Learning analytics are largely concerned with improving learner success.”
    This kind of associations requires standards, metadata-standards and sophisticated data mining. Despite of this I think that the association of learning analytics and big data will be a theme in Denmark because of a new initiative where pupils, parents, teachers and leaders are supposed to have a common digital access to local ICT-systems. In the next 2-3 years municipalities in Denmark has to begin an implementation of common digital platforms and dashboards supporting and scaffolding learning activities as well as collaboration among all stakeholders.
    Hendrik Drachsler and Wolfgang Geller developed the following global component framework of learning analytics, which visualizes some of the various components, we need to discuss, while they make up the learning analytics topic.
    http://www.slideshare.net/Drachsler/recsystel-lecture-at-advanced-siks-course-nl (April 2012):


    - thih thih Dec 5, 2014
  • Re: the Drachsler/Geller framework: Where are the commercial LA providers? - morten.dahl morten.dahl Dec 7, 2014
  • A lot of Big Data on learning is in small separated containers today, connecting and opening these holds - used wisely - great potential for academic research as well as the individual learner - thomas.skovgaard thomas.skovgaard Dec 5, 2014
  • Collecting traces that learners leave behind and using those traces to improve learning.What data do we have about learners? Demographics, Gender, age, ethnicity, socio-economic status, address. Previous educational experience. Schools, grades, results, Grades, scores, achievements, struggles. Attendance, location. Smart cards, proximity detectors. Online tracking. VLE / LMS data: views, posts, interactions, quiz results. Other online activity. Cross-tracking cookies. From Dough Clow (Open University): What can we do with the data: Identify learners who need help. Simple or predictive. Trigger interventions. Via teacher, or direct. Learn which interventions work. Build a complete cognitive learning system. Suggest resources or source of help. Learners like you found this helpful
    - morten.soby morten.soby Dec 7, 2014- vibeke.klovstad vibeke.klovstad Dec 7, 2014- morten.dahl morten.dahl Dec 7, 2014

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

  • According to George Siemens (Online Educa 2014) Learning analytics is an cognitive extension. Learning analytics is a cognitive exchange. - morten.soby morten.soby Dec 8, 2014
  • Implementing Learning analytics (policy/strategy) must: 1) Not only focus on the the easy counted data. 2) Build Capacity and evidence informed processes. 3) Improve students and school performance by assessment for learning. 4) Be based on trust in the relation between government, school leadership, teachers, students and the community - morten.soby morten.soby Dec 7, 2014
  • To address privacy issues one should grant the pupil ownership of their own data, to be released by consent. Hard to do, but somebody is trying. As far as I know, this is the basis for the Canadian https://lpss.me. - morten.dahl morten.dahl Dec 7, 2014
  • The success of Learning Analytics can only be measured from the learner´s perspective. It is not about efficiency, it is not a tool for "new public management". - morten.dahl morten.dahl Dec 7, 2014
  • Some kind of data harmonization and standardization is called for. IMS Caliper or Tin Can. - morten.dahl morten.dahl Dec 7, 2014
  • Much (almost all) of the research and description of Learning Analytics are from Higher Ed. A separate and different K-12 viewpoint is needed. - morten.dahl morten.dahl Dec 7, 2014
  • I think it is necessary to add some challenges to the above description. Yes, there are obviously potentials in LA described in the SoLAR Framework http://solaresearch.org/. Though there are some seriously challenges if we want to exploit these potentials because it requires long term funding and a critical awareness of what Daniel K. Schneider described as a bias against "bureaucratization through data graveyarding". In addition the SoLAR Framework describes a need for integration, which is quite ambitious, namely an integration of:
    • A Learning analytics engine, a versatile framework for collecting and processing data with various analysis modules (depending on the environment)
    • Adaptive content engine
    • Intervention engine: recommendations, automated support
      Dashboard, reporting, and visualization tools
- thih thih Dec 6, 2014
  • Hybrid Data Infrastructure Data infrastructure including both Grid and Cloud data management, which is scaled to protect student data locally and still send encrypted cloud data to scientific communities in order to exploit big data in analyzing and fascilitating personalied learning for individual students. (applies to Learning analytics, but still a topic on it's own.) - lars.persen lars.persen Nov 28, 2014

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on teaching, learning, or creative inquiry?

  • If used effectively, learning analytics can help surface early signals that indicate a student is struggling, allowing teachers and schools to address issues quickly. When correctly applied and interpreted, learning analytics will enable teachers to identify student learning-needs and subsequently tailor instruction appropriately and precisely. Learning analytics don't just measure students' progress – they can shape it. Analytics can potentially help transform education from a standard “one-sizefits- all” delivery system into a responsive and flexible framework, crafted to meet student academic needs and interests. For many years, these ideas have been a central component of adaptive software programs that make carefully calculated adjustments to keep learners motivated as they master concepts or encounter stumbling blocks.- morten.soby morten.soby Nov 24, 2014 - thomas.skovgaard thomas.skovgaard Dec 5, 2014- morten.dahl morten.dahl Dec 7, 2014
  • Learning Analytics can - once the privacy debate has been taken - when broadly implemented disrupt traditional assessment, and best case maybe even erase traditional assessment. - Kirsten.Panton Kirsten.Panton Dec 7, 2014
  • add your response here

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

Please share information about related projects in our Horizon Project form.