Fifty people attended the workshop, including invited experts (expert presentations), representatives of current European-funded projects in the field of learning analytics (project presentations), and representatives of the European Commission.
The workshop dealt with the current state of the art in learning analytics, the prospects for the implementation of learning analytics in the next decade, and the potential for European policy to guide and support the take-up and adaptation of learning analytics to enhance education.
The workshop began with a review of current learning analytics work by participants and went on to consider how learning analytics work can be taken forward in Europe (presentation on the LAEP project).
Participants at the workshop identified immediate issues for learning analytics in Europe. They set out considerations to be taken into account when developing learning analytics, made recommendations for learning analytics work in Europe and then identified both short- and long-term policy priorities in the area.
Immediate issues for LA in Europe
Framework for development: A European roadmap for learning analytics development would help us to build and develop a set of interoperable learning analytics tools that are tailored for the needs of Europe and that have been shown to work in practice.
Stakeholder involvement: There is a need to bring different people and stakeholders on board by reaching out to groups including teachers, students, staff, employers and parents. Our current engagement with stakeholders is too limited.
Data protection and surveillance: As legislation changes and individuals become more aware of data use, institutions need to understand their responsibilities and obligations with regard to data privacy and data protection
Empirical evidence and quality assurance: More empirical evidence is needed about the effects of learning analytics, in order to support a process of quality assurance.
Considerations for the development of LA
- Learning analytics can change or reinforce the status quo
- Learning analytics should enhance teaching, not replace it
- It is our duty to act upon the data we possess
- Desirable learning outcomes must be identified
- Be clear why we are collecting and analysing data
- Bring the data back to the learner
- Intelligent systems need human and cultural awareness
- Impressive data are not enough
Recommendations for LA work in Europe
- Undertake qualitative studies to understand how learning analytics can be aligned with the perceived purpose of education in different contexts, and which aspects of different educational contexts will support or constrain the use of learning analytics.
- Publicise existing evaluation frameworks for learning analytics and develop case studies that can be used to enrich and refine these frameworks
- Develop forms of quality assurance for learning analytics tools and for the evidence that is shared about these tools.
- Identify the limitations of different datasets and analytics and share this information clearly with end users.
- Explore ways of combining different datasets to increase the value of learning analytics for learners and teachers.
- Extend to different sectors of education the work currently being carried out in the higher education sector to identify the different elements that need to be taken into account when deploying learning analytics.
- Develop analytics, and uses for analytics, that delight and empower users.
Short-term policy priorities
Innovative pedagogy: Top priority is the need for novel, innovative pedagogy that drives innovation and the use of data to solve practical problems.
Evidence hub: Second priority is to secure continuing funding for a site that brings together evidence of what works and what does not in the field of learning analytics.
Data privacy: Participants considered that a clear statement is needed from privacy commissioners about controls to protect learners, teachers and society.
Orchestration of grants: The European grants system could better support the development of learning analytics if grants were orchestrated around an agreed reference model.
Crowd-sourced funding support: Set up a system for crowd-sourcing funding of tools teachers need, with EU top-up funding available for successful candidates.
21st-century skills: Focus on developing learning analytics for important skills and competencies that are difficult to measure, particularly 21st-century skills.
Open access standards: Standards need to be put into practice for analytics across Europe, with an open access forum that will enable the creation of standards from practice.
Ambassadors: We need more outreach, with ministries and politicians spreading the word and encouraging local communities and schools to engage.
Long-term policy priorities
Teacher education: Top priority in the longer term was for media competencies and learning analytics knowledge to be built into training for both new and existing teachers.
Decide which problems we want to solve: In order to develop the field of learning analytics we need to have collective discussions on the directions in which we want to go.
Facilitate data amalgamation: More consideration is needed of how to combine data sources to provide multi-faceted insights into the problems we seek to solve.
Identify success cases and methodologies that give us a solid foundation: We need a coordinated approach to quality assurance and to the identification of successful work.
Several accounts of the workshop are available online, dealing with the morning of day one, the afternoon of day one, day one as a whole, the morning of day two, the afternoon of day two and day two as a whole.