Learning Analytics for a World of Constant Change

Slides from a presentation delivered during the a Digital Pedagogy Meetup in Atlanta (20 February 2014), discussing ways in which traditional analytics may stifle innovation, and identifying several ways in which embedded approaches to learning analytics may actually contribute to the development of personal responsibility, critical thinking, digital citizenship, and imagination — characteristics so vital to surviving and thriving in the 21st century.

“The Society for Learning Analytics Research defines learning analytics as 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. Universities are increasingly using analytics to increase student retention and performance. Yet, the assumptions that frequently underly such initiatives are also inconsistent with pedagogies that would seek to cultivate creativity and innovation, capacities that are necessary in order to survive and thrive in a world that is constantly and increasingly changing. It will be argued that innovation and analytics are not incompatible, however, but rather that they are reconcilable through a shift in emphasis and priority. The presentation will sketch a provisional model of learning analytics that puts analytics in the service of (a humanist conception of) learning, rather than the reverse, and provide concrete examples of how this might be applied in practice.”