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Ariadne Pfad:


Learning Analytics - an International Overview

Visualisation of a presentation about Learning Analytics
Visualisation of a keynote by Stian Håklev about Learning Analytics (Apereo Conference 2014)
Copyright: Giulia Forsythe, "Learning Analytics #oucel15 keynote by @houshuang" CC0


Screenshot of the blog article
Screenshot of the blog article "Cattle in the mist: the promise of learning analytics (#CFHE12)" by Paul Prinsloo, 2012

In the first place, "Learning Analytics" doesn't sound really innovative. You could ask what is so new about it in contrast to classic learning research. Paul Prinsloo from the University of South Africa provides a good explanation for and definition of learning analytics. He says that:

“Learning analytics is 'the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of data about learners and their contexts, for purposes of understanding and optimising learning and the environments in which it occurs' (in Ferguson, 2012, p. 2; emphasis added). Take care to note that while there are different initiatives in higher education institutions to harvest and analyse data. These initiatives take place on institutional level, regional systems or national and international reporting frameworks, and focus on groups or cohorts of students. Most of these initiatives are furthermore retrospective and long-term. Learning analytics  zoom in on individual students on a specific course or at departmental level with the aim to influence, in real-time, their learning.” (Prinsloo, Paul, 2012: Cattle in the mist: the promise of learning analytics (#CFHE12), italic by Prinsloo, bold by the author)

So, in contrast to traditional learning research, which usually collects data from larger groups or cohorts retrospectively and which is run as a long-term project at a higher level, Learning Analytics are much closer to the "target object": if possible, LA conduct their analyses directly at the level of the respective course and assess each learner individually in real time while he/she is completing the course - and ideally also give direct feedback.

For this reason, research about and use of Learning Analytics often also involves all kinds of e-learning tools.

Another definition is that of the Society for Learning Analytics Research (SoLAR), which is the largest international specialist society for Learning Analytics. SoLAR has an extra page on its website on the question "What is Learning Analytics?". They answer the question as follows:

"LEARNING ANALYTICS is the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of data about learners and their contexts, for purposes of understanding and optimising learning and the environments in which it occurs (...)"

SoLAR also addresses the issue of the difference of Learning Analytics in comparison to classic learning research.

"Learning Analytics builds on these well established disciplines, but seeks to exploit the new opportunities once we capture new forms of digital data from students’ learning activity, and use computational analysis techniques from data science and AI [Artificial Intelligence]." (SoLAR / LAK 2011: What is Learning Analytics?, bold by SoLAR)


The Society for Learning Analytics Research (SoLAR) also provides a video to explain Learning Analytics on their website. Copyright: Yi-Shan Tsai, CC-BY 4.0
Cover of the Horizon Report 2016 (English edition)
Cover of the Horizon Report 2016 (English edition)


All good things come in threes, therefore we have a third definition for you.

The Horizon Report is well known in the higher education landscape.  It presents current trends, important challenges and developments in the field of educational technologies for higher education. It is published by Educause, which according to its own statement is a community of IT leaders and professionals organised as a non-profit organisation that wants to increase the impact of information technologies in higher education.

The following definition of Learning Analytics can be found in the Horizon Report 2016 (English edition):

"Learning analytics is an educational application of web analytics aimed at learner profiling, a process of gathering and analyzing details of individual student interactions in online learning activities" (Horizon Report 2016: 38)

Overview of / Introduction to Learning Analytics

Articles in German

"Learning Analytics (LA) is a very young research area in the field of educational informatics. It tries to provide support in the learning process by collecting and comparing data. This article provides an introduction and introduces the essential aspects, critical points, goals and methods of LA. Furthermore, a connection shall be established with vocational school [...]

[courtesy translation] "How does ubiquitous digitalization change learning when tablets, online lectures and classroom management apps generate more and more data? The dossier provides an overview of current developments [in 2015] and the associated challenges." Contents: 0) At a glance: Big data in education; 1) digitization in educational institutions; 2) The future of [...]

Articles in English

"Learning Analytics is a topic of growing interest among educational research community. As a result of a systematic literature review, this article describes the usefulness of Learning Analytics as a key element to support a proper 21st century education and to intervene its current crisis from the perspective of different educational stakeholders such as teachers, students, [...]

LACE (Learning Analytics Community Exchange) presents four frequently asked questions on Learning Analytics and their answers:

* What are learning analytics?
* What benefits can learning analytics provide?
* What are the main barriers in making use of learning analytics?
* What are ethical and privacy [...]

The project "Learning analytics for European educational policy – LAEP" (2015-2016) compiled a small glossary of terms used in Learning Analytics. [Abstract: Editors of Education Worldwide]

"The IMS Global Learning Consortium Learning Data & Analytics Innovation Leadership Network has released this document articulating eight principles that all higher education institutions should consider when implementing technology for the collection and use of learning data. As higher education institutions continue to leverage [...]

Societies, Networks, Projects

On its website, the "Society for Learning Analytics Research (SoLAR)" provides an introduction to the term "Learning Analytics", information about its two major events, the "International Conference on Learning Analytics & Knowledge (LAK)" and the "Learning Analytics Summer Institute (LASI) ", publications (a journal, a handbook [...]

The website of the "International Educational Data Mining Society (EDM)" provides a "Journal of Educational Data Mining", information about its annual conference and the conference proceedings, a mailing list and other resources.[Abstract: Editors of Education Worldwide]

The Learning Analytics Community Exchange (LACE) was an EU funded project in the 7th Framework Programme involving nine partners from across Europe. The website itself seems to have no new content since the end of the project in 2016. However, the community itself continues to exist through social media and conference meetings. [...]

Since May 2017, the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) also has a Learning Analytics Cluster. Under the tag "Learning Analytics" you will find news about the Cluster, as well as publications (studies, reports, presentations - sometimes linked in the news text). [Abstract: Editors of Education Worldwide]

[Please notice: The theme's website is offline. We provide a copy from the Internet Archive as of May 2021 for people interested in research output etc.]
The Theme Trusted Learning Analytics is part of the Research Line "Technology Enhanced Learning Innovations for teaching and learning (TELI)", which in turn is part of a [...]

This is the official website of the Working Group 2 "Learning Analytics" (GTNum2) as part of the Numerilab, which aims at initiating and supporting projects in the field of digitization. The NumeriLab was / is located at the Directorate for Digitization of Education (Direction du Numérique pour l'Education - DNE), a department of the [...]

Latin America
The LALA project is co-funded by the Erasmus+ program of the European Union. It is dedicated to the promotion and support of Learning Analytics (LA) in Latin America, especially in Higher Education. Among other things, the project created a framework for the design, implementation and use of LA, as well as plans for quality [...]

"The Apereo Learning Analytics Initiative (LAI) aims to accelerate the operationalization of Learning Analytics software and frameworks and support the validation of analytics pilots across institutions [...]." This is to be done with the help of an emerging Open Learning Analytics Platform.
Apereo was created by merging [...]

The aim of the SHEIA project is to "build a policy development framework that promotes formative assessment and personalized learning, by taking advantage of direct engagement of stakeholders in the development process." The project website provides reports, LA policies, infomration about events and other news.
SHEILA is co-funded [...]

Journals & Special Issues

Three journals explicitly deal with Learning Analytics or Educational Data Mining. All of them are free of access:

Journal of Learning Analytic
published by the Society for Learning Analytics Research (SoLAR)

Journal of Educational Data Mining (JEDM)
published by the International Educational Data Mining Society

International Journal of Learning Analytics and Artificial Intelligence for Education (iJAI)
published by the International Association of Online Engineering (IAOE)

Moreover, we compiled a list of diverse journals with special issues on "Learning Analytics" for you:


Participants of LAK13 (International Conference on Learning Analytics & Knowledge 2013) in front of the official LAK13 banner, Leuven, Belgium.
Participants of LAK13 (International Conference on Learning Analytics & Knowledge 2013) in front of the official LAK13 banner, Leuven, Belgium.

Beginning 27.02.2011

"The International Conference on Learning Analytics & Knowledge  is the premier research forum in the field, providing common ground for all stakeholders in the design of analytics systems to debate the state of the art at the intersection of Learning and Analytics — including researchers, educators, instructional designers, data scientists, software [...]

Deadline for CfP 30.05.2020
Beginning 19.10.2020

LACLO is the big regional conference on learning technologies in Latin America - the name varies between "Learning Technologies" and "Learning Objects". In general, the conferences have no specific theme. The conference accepts Spanish, Portuguese and English as a conference language. The website of LACLO 2020 also provides links to the previous conferences [...]

Beginning 07.08.2020

[The conference was cancelled due to the spread of the Corona virus] The conference theme would have been "Toward Technology-Enhanced and Evidence-based Teaching and Learning" with the following topics:  Making sense of learning analytics - Software systems and tools - Implementation and organizational development - Pedagogical models and learning analytics - [...]

United States of America
Beginning 20.07.2020

The conference is aimed at people who are responsible for the training and further education of employees in companies. The theme of the conference is the benefit and use of learning analytics in companies. The website provides information about the program and the speakers. [Abstract: Editors of Education Worldwide]  

Beginning 10.07.2020

"Educational Data Mining [EDM] is a leading international forum for high-quality research that mines datasets to answer educational research questions, including exploring how people learn and how they teach. (...) The theme of this year’s conference is “Improving Learning Outcomes for All Learners”. The theme comprises two parts: (1) Identifying [...]

United States of America
Deadline for CfP 31.03.2020
Beginning 08.06.2020

LASI events since the beginning in 2013 can be found on the superordinate website. LASI20 has 8 workshops and 8 tutorials. The topics are as follows:Workshops W1. Leadership and Deployment of Learning AnalyticsW2. Grounding Learning Analytics in Learning TheoryW3. Python Bootcamp for Learning Science PractitionersW4. Systematizing analytics with serious [...]

United States of America
Beginning 13.05.2020

The summit takes place annually. This year's theme is: "From Insight to Action.""The purpose of the summit is to cultivate a knowledge building community with a shared interest in in furthering faculty engagement with the widespread, sustained use of learning analytics. This year’s summit theme will provide a forum for discourse about the changes, or [...]

United States of America
Beginning 13.11.2019

The theme of this year's summit was "Opening New Opportunities to Use Data for Maximum Learning Impact". The site provides the PowerPoint presentations of the participants as pdf files.

Beginning 30.10.2019

"Learning technologies can be considered by many as the cornerstone for a new educational era that is under development, and Latin American countries should maintain an active forum for discussing the existing technological alternatives that can be applied to our regional contexts. (...) LACLO was achieved for the first time in Guayaquil in 2006 (Please find information [...]

Beginning 22.10.2019

After two editions in the Netherlands (2017, 2018), the 2019 edition of the conference (theme "An Ethical Vision of Learning Analytics") moved to France (...). This year the conference program will give particular attention to the crucial question of equity and ethics in higher education and will focus on individuals versus communities. (...) Indeed, because of [...]

Beginning 23.05.2019

"To better understand and appreciate the research on and applications for learning analytics in higher education in Asia, we invite frontline teachers (at all levels), instructional designers, educational technologists, scholars, and researchers to share their projects and/or findings with us in the symposium. We are interested in projects at higher education institutions [...]

Beginning 25.03.2019

"The Symposium will discuss learning analytics from various points of view. The program is based on invited speakers, including some world-renown experts from around the world. Our plan is to present the state-of-the-art and to provoke a timely discussion on issues related to the topic." Sessions:Session I: A Current View on Learning Analytics - Where we are [...]

Beginning 07.06.2018

The event dealt with the question of how learning analytics can be used in higher education and with the effects of the General Data Protection Regulation of the European Union (introduced on May 25th, 2018) on teaching in Austria. There were two presentations on the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation at universities in Austria and the EU project [...]

Critical Voices

Articles in German

"Digitization will change learning and teaching. The concept of 'learning analytics' will play an important role. This term appears again and again in connection with international educational studies and the demand for effective and individualized learning. It is therefore essential for the GEW [German Education and Science Workers' Union] to fill this term with content and [...]

Articles in English

"In our last paper on educational data mining (EDM) and learning analytics (LA; Fournier, Kop & Durand, 2014), we concluded that publications about the usefulness of quantitative and qualitative analysis tools were not yet available and that further research would be helpful to clarify if they might help learners on their self-directed learning journey. Some of these [...]

"Learning Analytics systems and practices have developed over 10 years or more in a wide range of educational contexts, collecting and analysing large amounts of data to analyse and predict student behaviour and success. The ethical issues that are inherent in this range of practices have however been slower to be understood. This Report proposes a number of Core Issues that [...]

Paul Prinsloo from the University of South Africa points at the risk of seeing patterns where none actually exist when analysing big data. These assumed patterns may then lead to personalised assessments, curricula and the allocation of resources in education, although they might be incorrect. [Abstract: Editors of Education [...]

"Context: Learning analytics is considered as the third wave in educational technology and it is a new and promising field of study. This study was conducted to clarify benefits and challenges of learning analytics in education. ** Methods: Cooper's systematic literature review was used as the research method. This method has five steps as follows: a) formulation of the [...]

The purpose of this discussion paper is to explore the key ethical issues regarding the use of learning analytics and to provide guidance on how these might be considered. The key ethical principles include: *Privacy *Data ownership and control *Transparency *Consent *Anonymity *Non-maleficence and beneficence *Data management and security *Access. The discussion paper has [...]

Learning Analytics Outside Europe and North America

"Learning Analytics for the Global South is a compilation of papers commissioned for the Digital Learning for Development (DL4D) project. (...) DL4D aims to examine how digital learning could be used to address issues of equity, quality, and efficiency at all educational levels in developing countries. (...) An introductory discussion paper by Dragan Ga¨evic of the University [...]

"In this chapter, we present an overview of the field by articulating definitions and existing models of learning analytics. Case examples of learning analytics from Asian researchers are then summarized and reported. This is followed by an exploration of the key tensions in this field. The chapter concludes with a discussion of potential areas for future research in this [...]

Last Update: 20.05.2020  -

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