Last week (on October 9th) LACE and Skolverket arranged, together with the Norwegian Centre for ICT in Education, a one-day seminar on learning analytics in schools. Some 45 people from the two countries attended the seminar which was held in three languages: English, Norwegian and Swedish. On top of introducing the concept of learning analytics to the Scandinavian audience, the idea was to try out if the seminar format worked and whether it can be duplicated elsewhere. In short the format was the following: we started with two general introductions which gave an overview of the state of art in learning analytics and the most important challenges ahead, by Morten Dahl from the Norwegian ICT Centre and Doug Clow from OU in UK.
The second part consisted of three cases presented by people involved in learning analytics in different ways. First Yngve Lindvig from the Norwegian company Conexus who constructs tools and systems for schools to use presented their work. Secondly a Swedish math teacher, Mathias Andersson, described is work with the flipped classroom model on a technical platform that gives him a lot of feedback from his students. The third case presented by Jenny Sjöstrand was a Swedish region where they collect and use data in their planning process with a focus on dropouts at the upper secondary level.
The seminar ended with an open discussion among the participants on opportunities and challenges in learning analytics. Among the issues brought up were ideas such as:
how governments can establish conditions that makes it possible for the ed-tech industry to cooperate in developing learning analytics for schools, and not only compete;
is there a risk, at least to start with, that schools have too little and rather non-sophisticated data (i.e. simple data from LMS’s) that becomes over-used;
if and how statistical data can be complemented by other forms of more qualitative data;
the need for competence development among teachers and school heads on interpreting data and statistics;
and much more. It was a vivid discussion that hopefully will continue even after the seminar ended.
The evaluation forms filled in by the participants at the end gave full support for the need of an ongoing discussion regarding learning analytics in schools as well as positive feedback regarding the format of the seminar. Interested parties around Europe are welcome to contact Peter Karlberg, leader of the WP4 in LACE, to discuss arranging similar seminars.