Evidence of the month: ethical issues associated with learning analytics in schools


Each month, we highlight one of the new additions to the LACE Evidence Hub, which brings together evidence about learning analytics. You are welcome to add to the Hub site, which you can visit via a tab at the top of this page.

The evidence of the month for February 2016 is a pre-print of a paper by Rodríguez-Triana, Martínez-Monés, and Villagrá-Sobrino, which will appear this spring in a special issue of the Journal of Learning Analytics that will focus on issues of ethics and privacy.

The field of learning analytics is working to define frameworks that can structure the legal and ethical issues that scholars and practitioners have to take into account when planning and applying analytics to their learning contexts. However, the main focus of this work to date has been higher education. This paper reflects on the need to extend these ethical frameworks to cover other approaches to learning analytics; specifically, small-scale classroom-oriented approaches designed to support teachers in their practice.

This reflection is based on three studies in which a teacher-led learning analytics approach was employed in higher education and primary school contexts. The paper describes the ethical issues that emerged in these learning scenarios, and discusses them  with regard to: the overall learning analytics approach, the particular solution to learning analytics adopted, and the educational contexts where the analytics were applied.

This work is presented as a first step towards the wider objective of providing a more comprehensive and adapted ethical framework to learning analytics that is able to address the needs of different learning analytics approaches and educational contexts.

Citation: Rodríguez-Triana, María Jesús, Martínez-Monés, ALejandara, & Villagrá-Sobrino, Sara. (2016). Learning analytics in small-scale teacher-led innovations: ethical and data privacy issues. Journal of Learning Analytics, 3(1).

About Author

Rebecca is a lecturer at The Open University in the UK, focused on educational futures, learning analytics, MOOCs, augmented learning and online social learning. She is a member of the steering committee of the Society for Learning Analytics Research (SoLAR) and was Workshops Chair of the second Learning Analytics and Knowledge conference (LAK 2012). She co-chaired the 1st and 2nd International Workshops on Discourse-Centric Learning Analytics, held in Belgium and the US, as well as the first UK SoLAR Flare (a national learning analytics event). Her most recent publication is the book ‘Augmented Education’, published by Palgrave in May 2014. Rebecca is working on the LACE work package relating to learning analytics in higher education.

Leave A Reply