Learning Analytics and Interoperability – The Big Picture in Brief

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Learning Analytics is now moving from being a research interest to a wider community who seek to apply it in practice. As this happens, the challenge of efficiently and reliably moving data between systems becomes of vital practical importance. System interoperability can reduce this challenge in principle, but deciding where to drill down into the details will be easier with a view of the “big picture”, so the LACE project has published a short briefing on the topic of learning analytics and interoperability.

This introductory briefing, which is aimed at non-technical readers who are concerned with developing plans for sustainable practical learning analytics, describes some of the motivations for better interoperability and outlines the range of situations in which standards or other technical specifications can help to realise these benefits.

In the briefing, we expand on benefits such as:

  • efficiency and timeliness,
  • independence from disruption as software components change,
  • adaptability of IT architectures to evolving needs,
  • innovation and market growth,
  • durability of data and archival,
  • data aggregation, and
  • data sharing.

Whereas the focus of attention in learning analytics is often on data collected during learner activity, the briefing paper considers the wider system landscape within which interoperability might contribute to practical learning analytics initiatives, including interoperability of models, methods, and analytical results.

The briefing paper is available from the Learning Analytics Review micro-site.

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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.