What are Learning Analytics?

Learning analytics refers to the interpretation of a wide range of data produced by and gathered on behalf of students in order to assess academic progress, predict future performance, and spot potential issues. Data are collected from explicit student actions, such as completing assignments and taking exams, and from tacit actions, including online social interactions, extracurricular activities, posts on discussion forums, and other activities that are not directly assessed as part of the student’s educational progress. The goal of learning analytics is to enable teachers and schools to tailor educational opportunities to each student’s level of need and ability in close-to-real time. Learning analytics promises to harness the power of advances in data mining, interpretation, and modeling to improve understandings of teaching and learning, and to tailor education to individual students more effectively. Still in its early stages, learning analytics responds to calls for accountability on campuses and aims to leverage the vast amount of data produced by students in academic activities.

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

  • This is a growth area for schools/districts - it seems everyone is building a data warehouse and looking for good business intelligence tools. - jean.tower jean.tower Feb 23, 2012
  • Currently Australian education uses the National Literacy and Numeracy tests as evidence base for measuring student progress. But this data is made available some six months after the tests have been taken. Learning analytics provides the possibility for real time data being made available to teachers, principals, system decision makers to provide immediate feedback cycles for intervention and tailoring the learning to meet the individual needs in a timely way. However, one critical issue is that we can be flooded with information that actually makes us knowledge poor. So we do need to be careful about what information is necessary to help teachers make informed decisions that actually improve the learning outcomes for students. Adaptive learning systems are able to take this data and use it to provide pathways that meet the needs of students. - garry.putland garry.putland Mar 3, 2012
  • In times of huge changes in the education system it needs ways to navigate and qualify new practice and learning analytics could play a key role in this context. Our consideration is that only focusing on test results will be a dead end – to understand what works and what not we have to research the whole teaching and learning process in both quantitative and qualitative ways. - claus.gregersen claus.gregersen Mar 4, 2012
  • This is an essential area if we are to have Personal Learning Environments. Without data analysis, we cannot follow student progress. - cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Mar 4, 2012

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

  • A key challenge in the further development of learning analytics will be to demonstrate the value of learning analytics in the everyday life of the educational practitioners, especially with regard to how learning analytics can be time saving and can support formative assessment in a productive way- oystein.johannessen oystein.johannessen Mar 1, 2012 Great point. - cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Mar 4, 2012

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

  • To use data well, to even know what questions can be asked, will require lots of professional development for educators. - jean.tower jean.tower Feb 23, 2012
  • Check out David Wiley's EDUCAUSE presentation - two examples from Utah's online high school of the use of learning analytics to forecast student success. - bwatwood bwatwood Feb 27, 2012
  • Data analysis will allow for better decisions and the creation of one's own personalized learning path.- cristiana.mattos cristiana.mattos Mar 4, 2012

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

Please share information about related projects in our Horizon K-12 Project form.