Developing a Learning Analytics Strategy for a Higher Education Institution


Interest in Learning Analytics has moved from researchers to early adopters and the topic is now starting to invite a strategic response at institutional level. LACE is offering a half-day workshop at the Cetis Conference 2014, “Building the Digital Institution”, to bring together interested parties to explore what such a strategic response might look like, and to capture the thinking that emerges for sharing with the wider community.


This workshop will explore what a Learning Analytics Strategy might look like in a Higher Education Institution through: short presentations, open discussion, and group work in which workshop participants will design an institutional strategy for a hypothetical, but realistic, higher education setting.

More information can be found on the workshop home page.

The intention is to be very practical and pragmatic, but this is not to say that we will only be thinking of technical aspects, or the need for appropriate staff skills; pragmatism must recognise the ethical, cultural, epistemological, or pedagogical aspects that are surely essential considerations for an effective strategy. Effective strategies must be realistic in their aims, and in their assessment of the status quo, and must also embed a good understanding of the mechanisms of change.

So, what factors should be taken into account when attempting to be pragmatic and realistic? Or, more personally, what issues do you believe should be taken into account when formulating strategy?

Help us to Capture Issues

This is where the workshop will start, and we would very much like to hear from as many people as possible. Please add issues as comments on this post (or maybe offer a short video clip), knowing that if you cannot attend the workshop, your ideas will contribute to the debate. After the workshop we will produce a report to synthesise the discussions.

Here are some “starter” issues that might be relevant when formulating strategy.

  1. The level of statistical literacy, and data literacy generally, is low. This is not the ability to conduct complex analysis but to interpret data and statistical results accurately, and to ask critical questions about significance, bias, etc.
  2. It would be dangerous to reduce all problems to be expressed in terms that lend themselves to analytical solutions, what Evgeny Morozov calls “solutionism”.
  3. Students are likely to become unhappy about data being used to serve the interests of the university rather than to serve their interests as defined by them.

Please add…


About Author

Adam works for Cetis, the Centre for Educational Technology and Interoperability Standards, at the University of Bolton, UK. He rather enjoys data wrangling and hacking about with R. He is currently a member of the UK Government Open Standards Board, and a member of the Information Standards Board for Education, Skills and Children’s Services. He is a strong advocate of open standards and open system architecture. Adam is leading the workpackage on interoperability and data sharing.

1 Comment

  1. Just to note that the Open University is now developing a formal institutional policy that will be published later this year. It will detail the principles guiding the ethical use of learning analytics in the OU and will be accompanied by guidelines for various stakeholder groups (students, tutors, student support teams).

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