What is Learning Analytics?

Learning analytics is education’s approach to “big data,” a science that was originally leveraged by businesses to analyze commercial activities, identify spending trends, and predict consumer behavior. The rise of the Internet drove research into big data and metrics as well as the proliferation of web tracking tools, enabling companies to build vast reserves of information they could study and leverage in their marketing campaigns. Education is embarking on a similar pursuit into data science with the aim of improving student retention and providing a high quality, personalized experience for learners. Learning analytics research uses data analysis to inform decisions made on every tier of the educational system. Whereas analysts in business use consumer data to target potential customers and personalize advertising, learning analytics leverages student data to build better pedagogies, target at-risk student populations, and assess whether programs designed to improve retention have been effective and should be sustained — outcomes for legislators and administrators that have profound impact. For educators and researchers, learning analytics has been crucial to gaining insights about student interaction with online texts and courseware. 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?

  • The promise of Learning Analytics is to enable personalized learning and to identify at-risk pupils. Both would be most welcome. - morten.dahl morten.dahl Sep 15, 2013 Same. - snorre.lovas snorre.lovas Sep 16, 2013
  • When built into the LMS already used, or a new system replacing the LMS, it can be a valuable tool for the teachers and the students. It could be a tool to prevent students from moving on with competancy goals they have not mastered, and steer the learners in the right direction. It could be used as a valuable tool for the learner and the teacher. - Ann.Sorum.Michaelsen Ann.Sorum.Michaelsen Sep 16, 2013
  • Learning and Teaching Analytics (see below) are potentially powerful methods for supporting professional development of teachers, learning for students, and school development if used properly, and presented in understandable and useful ways. There is a plethora of research through the past 30 years that is relevant for learning and teaching analytics (e.g., see the field of Intelligent Tutoring Systems). - barbara.wasson barbara.wasson Sep 16, 2013
  • Agree with the previous- per.hetland per.hetland Sep 17, 2013
  • This could be an important tool for formative assessment. - jostein.kvisteroy jostein.kvisteroy Sep 19, 2013
  • Learning analytics can support various forms of embedded assessment (cd Redecker and Johannessen, 2013) - oysteinjohannessen oysteinjohannessen Sep 19, 2013
  • Learning analytics and effectiveness technology/tools will improve our ability to finally be able to create individual learning paths and performance driven assessment in K12. I believe the potential can be much higher as we according to standards and privacy laws can provide teachers and various authorities more insight in how pupils develop and be able to intervene /take actions to correct an unwanted situation or trend as eventually often results in drop-out or other problematic and potentially damaging experiences for the student. Current situation totally depends on the teachers (or other involved individuals) capacity and skills to understand and spend time with the pupil to correct and improve the development. - bjornarh bjornarh Sep 22, 2013
  • Learning analytics at its best 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 can support: a variety of teaching strategies and good/relevant feedback to pupils' development.- morten.soby morten.soby Sep 24, 2013
  • Learning analytics has potentials of systematizing big data in a productive way and target learners needs and challenges in better ways. - ola.erstad ola.erstad Sep 28, 2013

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

  • Learning Analytics is on a collision course with European privacy laws. There is also a lack of standardized formats or APIs, making data capture across applications difficult. - morten.dahl morten.dahl Sep 15, 2013 Agree - morten.soby morten.soby Sep 24, 2013
  • Privacy and ownership of data is key here with all the collected data about our pupils. - snorre.lovas snorre.lovas Sep 16, 2013
  • A core concern about learning analytics is whether using learning analytics as a primary measure of a school’s performance focuses too heavily on quantifiable performance indicators - particularly test scores - at the expense of other forms of performance assessment. Source: https://sites.google.com/site/week12socialanalytics/learning-analytics - Ann.Sorum.Michaelsen Ann.Sorum.Michaelsen Sep 16, 2013
  • Teaching Analytics -- a subset of Learning Analytics that focuses on the design, development, evaluation, and education of visual analytics methods and tools for teachers in primary, secondary, and tertiary educational settings. Teachers’ professional practices with visual analytics methods and tools are a central concern of teaching analytics, with particular focus on formative assessment. Teaching analytics methods and tools aim to develop innovative solutions to assist and augment teachers’ dynamic diagnostic decision-making in the classrooms of the 21st century. Our European project, NEXT-TELL, organised the first (http://www.next-tell.eu/tapta) and second (http://www.next-tell.eu/iwta-2013/) workshops on Teaching Analytics. - barbara.wasson barbara.wasson Sep 16, 2013
  • Privacy and ownership- per.hetland per.hetland Sep 17, 2013
  • Teaching Analytics as input and output of Learning Design and Teacher Inquiry into Student Learning
  • Issues of data capture, privacy and what it takes to implement Learning Analytics in a Norwegian context should be highlighted - oysteinjohannessen oysteinjohannessen Sep 19, 2013
  • We need to keep in mind the risks of personalizing learning in this way, and like Eli Pariser make us aware of, that these developments might represent threats to individual freedom and might me misused in some instances. - ola.erstad ola.erstad Sep 28, 2013

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on Norwegian K-12 education?

  • The Norwegian education sector is (relatively) small. It is hard to imagine that we can produce "big data" in the classroom. Will we end up buying data and algoithms from the US? - morten.dahl morten.dahl Sep 15, 2013
    • There is more data than one can imagine to be harnessed in classrooms when students use digital tools (see, NEXT-TELL project below)
  • Even though we might not be large enough to produce data to base certain decisions on, the data produced by learning analytics principles should enable us to better track pupils progress and struggles and better support that student than most teachers are able to on a day to day basis today. - snorre.lovas snorre.lovas Sep 16, 2013
  • Learning analytics could boost digitization of formative assessment - oysteinjohannessen oysteinjohannessen Sep 19, 2013

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

  • As of yet, the projects I know of only use high level data (absence, grades etc) in a quality framework for the school district. - snorre.lovas snorre.lovas Sep 16, 2013
  • In NEXT-TELL we are working with schools on teaching analytics. In Norway, Nordahl Grieg high school is a partner with Uni Research AS and University of Bergen in this project, focused on using learning and teaching analytics for formative assessment in the classroom. - barbara.wasson barbara.wasson Sep 16, 2013

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