Archive for category Articles
After talking about learning analytics at the BETT show, I was invited to write about them for the Public Service Executive magazine. The hard copy of PSE goes out to 9,000 subscribers, while the online version goes out to a database of 50,000.
This article provides a short introduction to learning analytics for people considering introducing analytics at their institution. It introduces six areas for action, and briefly outlines what needs to be done in each of these:
Areas for action
- Leadership and governance
- Collaboration and networking
- Teaching and learning
- Quality assurance
- Capacity building
‘Developing a strategic approach to MOOCs’ uses the work carried out at these universities to identify nine priority areas for MOOC research and how these can be developed in the future:
As ed-tech social media fills up with rapid-response pieces on what Pokémon Go could mean for education, I thought it was time to refer back to work with a more solid basis. And what could be a better starting point than our 2014 book on Augmented Education?
Augmented Education explores the implications and challenges of augmented learning – learning at the frontiers of reality – and the ways in which we can understand it, structure it, develop it and employ it. It investigates what we can do now that we could not do before, and asks whether these new possibilities could fundamentally affect how people approach and benefit from learning. For example, can augmented learning create the social, affective and cognitive conditions that will allow individuals and groups of people not only to approach learning in a meaningful way, but also to engage with it more deeply?
To encourage people to read the book, I wrote a piece for the OU News and OpenLearn on Pokémon Go, and how the game aligns with the four approaches to augmented education that we identify in the book.
The book provides a detailed overview of the newest possibilities in education and shows how technological developments can be harnessed to support inclusive and collaborative knowledge building through formal and informal learning.
In order to do this, we employ a broad definition of augmented learning.
“Augmented learning uses electronic devices to extend learners’ interactions with and perception of their current environment to include and bring to life different times, spaces, characters and possibilities. It offers possibilities for the transformation of learners and their learning contexts.”
Using this definition, the book extends beyond the augmentation of teaching, learning and schools to include informal subject-based learning, learning using social media, collaborative informal learning and educating the transhuman.
Along with other members of the LACE project (Tore Hoel, Maren Scheffel and Hendrik Drachsler), I co-edited a special section of Journal of Learning Analytics Vol 3, No 1, which focused on ethics and privacy in learning analytics.
The section contained eight papers:
- Developing a Code of Practice for Learning Analytics
- Learning Analytics in Small-scale Teacher-led Innovations: Ethical and Data Privacy Issues
- LEA in Private: A Privacy and Data Protection Framework for a Learning Analytics Toolbox
- A Data Protection Framework for Learning Analytics
- The Role of a Reference Synthetic Data Generator within the Field of Learning Analytics
- De-Identification in Learning Analytics
- Privacy-driven Design of Learning Analytics Applications – Exploring the Design Space of Solutions for Data Sharing and Interoperability
- Student Vulnerability, Agency and Learning Analytics: An Exploration
The volume also included our guest editorial:
The European Learning Analytics Community Exchange (LACE) project is responsible for an ongoing series of workshops on ethics and privacy in learning analytics (EP4LA), which have been responsible for driving and transforming activity in these areas. Some of this activity has been brought together with other work in the papers that make up this special issue. These papers cover the creation and development of ethical frameworks, as well as tools and approaches that can be used to address issues of ethics and privacy. This editorial suggests that it is worth taking time to consider the often intertangled issues of ethics, data protection and privacy separately. The challenges mentioned within the special issue are summarised in a table of 22 challenges that are used to identify the values that underpin work in this area. Nine ethical goals are suggested as the editors’ interpretation of the unstated values that lie behind the challenges raised in this paper.
Ferguson, Rebecca, Hoel, Tore, Scheffel, Maren, & Drachsler, Hendrik. (2016). Guest editorial: ethics and privacy in learning analytics. Journal of Learning Analytics, 3(1) 5-15.
My article ‘Learning analytics don’t just measure students’ progress – they can shape it‘, appeared online in The Guardian education today, in the ‘extreme learning’ section.
In it, I argue that we should not apply learning analytics to the things we can measure easily, but to those that we value, including the development of crucial skills such as reflection, collaboration, linking ideas and writing clearly.
I also link to the #laceproject – Learning Analytics Community Exchange – a European-funded project on learning analytics.
Finally published online in Technology, Pedagogy and Education is our article on informal learning at primary school level. The research study focused on two groups of self-motivated learners, including one set who had set up their own Scratch programming club, and another group who belonged to a lunchtime robot-building club run by a parent.
The creative approaches to informal learning that these pre-teens used when working with new technology at home, contrasted with the approaches that they were able to use within school. Their strategies of using different devices, collaborating with others both face-to-face and electronically, and consulting a range of websites were all constrained in school settings. Other constraints were associated with their age – for example, their lack of access to credit cards made online purchases a complicated procedure, and many of their decisions about use of technology were related to a lack of money to spend. They were also limited by parental constraints and legal constraints to a much greater extent than children only a few years older.
While other studies have focused on differences in use of technology for learning at age 11, when children move from primary to secondary school, this study suggests that a more significant shift in use of technology for learning takes place at age 13.
Ferguson, Rebecca; Faulkner, Dorothy; Whitelock, Denise and Sheehy, Kieron (2014). Pre-teens’ informal learning with ICT and Web 2.0. Technology, Pedagogy and Education http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1475939X.2013.870596#.UtWYzmTuKjE
ICT and Web 2.0 have the potential to impact on learning by supporting enquiry, new literacies, collaboration and publication. Restrictions on the use of these tools within schools, primarily due to concerns about discipline and child safety, make it difficult to make full use of this potential in formal educational settings. Studies of children at different stages of schooling have highlighted a wider range of ICT use outside school, where it can be used to support informal learning. The study reported here looks beyond the broad categories of primary and secondary education and investigates the distinctive elements of pre-teens’ use of ICT to support informal learning. Nineteen children aged 10 and 11 participated in focus groups and produced visual representations of ICT and Web 2.0 resources they used to support their informal learning. Thematic analysis of this data showed that pre-teens respond to a range of age-related constraints on their use of ICT. Inside formal education, these constraints appear similar at primary and secondary levels. Out of school, regulation is more age specific, contributing to the development of tensions around use of ICT as children approach their teenage years. These tensions and constraints shape the ways in which children aged 10 to 11 engage in formal and informal learning, particularly their methods of communication and their pressing need to develop evaluation skills.
Ferguson, R. (2012). Learning analytics: drivers, developments and challenges. International Journal of Technology Enhanced Learning (IJTEL), 4(5/6), 304-317.
This is an updated and peer-reviewed version of my earlier technical report, The State Of Learning Analytics in 2012: A Review and Future Challenges.
The latest version is available on request via Open Research Online (ORO) – click the link to ‘request a copy from the OU author’.
Learning analytics is a significant area of technology-enhanced learning that has emerged during the last decade. This review of the field begins with an examination of the technological, educational and political factors that have driven the development of analytics in educational settings. It goes on to chart the emergence of learning analytics, including their origins in the 20th century, the development of data-driven analytics, the rise of learning-focused perspectives and the influence of national economic concerns. It next focuses on the relationships between learning analytics, educational data mining and academic analytics. Finally, it examines developing areas of learning analytics research, and identifies a series of future challenges.
You can also read the paper in Italian
Ferguson, Rebecca. (2014). Learning analytics: fattori trainanti, sviluppi e sfide. TD Tecnologie Didattiche, 22(3), 138-147.