Learning Analytics 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. This provides actionable feedback for learners, teachers and school leaders. Learning Analytics can play an important role embedded in the learning process itself, or can provide insights and information for teachers and school leaders when it’s extracted from the learning process.

Why is it important?
According to the leading research and consultancy bureau Gartner, Learning Analytics is a hype approaching ‘the peak of inflated expectations’. There is a lot of attention for it within the research communities and also from commercial organizations like learning content developers and publishers.

The general trend that we see is that more and more students and schools are working with digital learning material. The data that’s being generated by the student interaction with this material is the fuel for the Learning Analytics engine. Analyses of this data can help to create a clearer picture of the progress a student is making, the level he or she is working on and the way students prefer to learn.

Learning Analytics can help answering questions like:

  • When is a student ready to proceed to the next subject?
  • When is a student at risk of dropping out?
  • What grade will a student most likely receive for a specific subject?
  • Does a student need extra support on a specific area?

To be able to answer these questions a teacher can benefit from accurate and up-to-date information that helps him choose the right interventions. His intuition plays a part here as well off course, but Learning Analytics can help him in moving in the right direction.

Privacy is of course an important aspect and educational organizations have a great responsibility when it comes to this. In The Netherlands there are laws that help to protect the privacy of individuals and schools, publishers and content developers need to be transparent in their use of personal student data. Privacy doesn’t have to become a problem, but we see that most schools lack the right knowledge when it comes to this subject.

What’s next?
It will take some time before Learning Analytics is really broadly adopted in our schools. We expect that within two to five years approximately 50% of the schools we make use of systems that are more or less driven by Learning Analytics principles.

To get the discussion going about this topic we’ve created this infographic. We kindly invite you to share this within your network.