I have a new article out in the journal of Educational Technology and Society, focused on social learning analytics. These analytics use data generated by learners’ online activity in order to identify behaviours and patterns within the learning environment that signify effective process. The intention is to make these visible to learners, to learning groups and to teachers, together with recommendations with the potential to spark and support learning.
Buckingham Shum, S., & Ferguson, R. (2012). Social Learning Analytics. Educational Technology & Society, 15 (3), 3–26.
We propose that the design and implementation of effective Social Learning Analytics (SLA) present significant challenges and opportunities for both research and enterprise, in three important respects. The first is that the learning landscape is extraordinarily turbulent at present, in no small part due to technological drivers. Online social learning is emerging as a significant phenomenon for a variety of reasons, which we review, in order to motivate the concept of social learning. The second challenge is to identify different types of SLA and their associated technologies and uses. We discuss five categories of analytic in relation to online social learning; these analytics are either inherently social or can be socialised. This sets the scene for a third challenge, that of implementing analytics that have pedagogical and ethical integrity in a context where power and control over data are now of primary importance. We consider some of the concerns that learning analytics provoke, and suggest that Social Learning Analytics may provide ways forward. We conclude by revisiting the drivers and trends, and consider future scenarios that we may see unfold as SLA tools and services mature.