Action Research & Learning Analytics - Block 4, Activty 9

Dyckhoff et al (2013) have produced a paper that asks important questions about what Learning Analytic can provide or offer in terms of how effectively it can enhance education. Their own definition is telling:

In the context of our research, we understand learning analytics as the development and exploration of methods and tools for visual analysis and pattern recognition in educational data to permit institutions, teachers, and students to iteratively reflect on learning processes and, thus, call for the optimization of learning designs [39, 40] on the on hand and aid the improvement of learning on the other. [my emphasis]

In other words they are very much more interested in the practical applications of learning analytics.

I am particularly focussing on the value of their table 1 itemising questions that teachers ask of technology enhanced learning (TEL), where it seems that many of the questions are relevant to any kind of educational offering (e.g. Why do students appreciate the learning offering?; When and how long are student accessing specific learning offerings (during a day)?; How often do students use a learning environment (per week)?; Are there specific learning offerings that are NOT used at all?),  but those that focus on questions that are relevant to learning analytics seem more relevant to the utility of the data collected AND how it could be more effectively used. 

For instance, 'By which properties can students be grouped?’, seems a telling question because the analytics probably do not have all the data that ‘might’ be relevant to being able to either assess, ascertain or evaluate an online offering.

To help ascertain this, the questions: 'How many (percent of the) learning modules are student viewing?’, and 'Which didactical activities facilitate continuous learning?’.

How do learning offerings have to be provided and combined to with support to increase usage?

 Their Table 4, is perhaps more telling as it catalogues what learning analytics should be able to offer to two main categories of users, the educators and the students.

 Take the itemised list for the students:

  1. monitor own activities / interactions / learning process
  2. compare own behavior with the whole group / high performing students
  3. become aware
  4. reflect / self-reflect
  5. improve discussion participation / learning behavior / performance
  6. become better learners
  7. learn

The leraning analytics reasearch appears to (currently) be able to provide information on, or analysis of: 1 (monitor); & 2 (compare). The rest I’m not quite sure how the learning analytics provides better and more cost effective solutions to the other five points. 


Dyckhoff, A.L. et al. (2013) Supporting Action Research with Learning Analytics. Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Learning Analystics and Knowledge (LAK13), New York, ACM, 220-229.

Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.  -Will Durant