Teaching the Unteachable: On the Compatibility of Learning Analytics and Humane Education

This paper is an exploratory effort to find a place for learning analytics in humane education. After distinguishing humane education from training on the basis of the Aristotelian model of intellectual capabilities, and arguing that humane education is distinct by virtue of its interest in cultivating prudence, which is unteachable, an account of three key characteristics of humane education is provided. Appealing to thinkers of the Italian Renaissance, it is argued that ingenium, eloquence, and self-knowledge constitute the what, how, and why of humane education. Lastly, looking to several examples from recent learning analytics literature, it is demonstrated that learning analytics is not only helpful as set of aids for ensuring success in scientific and technical disciplines, but in the humanities as well. In order to function effectively as an aid to humane education, however, learning analytics must be embedded within a context that encourages continuous reflection, responsiveness, and personal responsibility for learning.

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