What is Open Learning Analytics?
Learning Analytics is rightly identified as being a potent enabler of change in formal and informal education and training, in educational establishments and in the workplace. Open technical architectures and Open Standards are a critical requirement for achieving results at scale; they provide a conceptual and technical framework to allow both proprietary and Open Source software providers to innovate in their particular niche. These are two pillars of the idea of an Open Learning Analytics framework, a technical and conceptual basis for multiple real-world platforms, which would be:
- Open, with processes, algorithms, and technologies being accessible and changeable. This is important for innovation and meeting the varying contexts of implementation. It is also important in fostering stakeholder-trust in Learning Analytics systems.
- Transparently validated, with the technical aspects, usability, and effectiveness evaluated, and the results and methodology captured in an intelligible format. This will enable organizations to compare products without the need for a deep understanding of the problem domain.
- Modular to support the development and integration of “best of breed” components. Core analytic tools (or engines) might include: adaptation, learning, interventions, and dashboards. An open architecture enables the innovative tools and methods of commercial providers and researchers to be integrated into diverse learning platforms.
- Standards-based to reduce the barrier to modularity and aid incremental adoption. Standards should also help to reduce market fragmentation and increase the number of viable products.
The idea of an Open Learning Analytics platform was first advanced by a group of leading thinkers on Learning Analytics from Europe, Australia, and North America in a 2011 visioning paper published by the Society for Learning Analytics Research (SoLAR). Since then, a summit meeting was held in Indianapolis (USA) in March 2014 to promote networking, to develop thinking, and to explore possibilities for collaborative research and innovation, including through grant funding. This meeting made progress towards the idea of Open Learning Analytics as a technical and conceptual framework around which multiple stakeholders could coordinate their activity around areas of common interest.
About the Meeting
The time is right to gather a European critical mass of activity behind the idea of an Open Learning Analytics framework since both Learning Analytics and interoperability are identified as key areas for research and innovation in the Horizon 2020 call ICT-20, “Technologies for better human learning and teaching”.
The purpose of Open Learning Analytics Network Summit Europe is to develop a shared European perspective on the concept of an Open Learning Analytics framework, based on a critical view of where we are now and what is feasible in the next 3-5 years. The intended outcomes of the summit are concrete plans for collaborative research and innovation. These plans will set out to meet the challenges and realise the possibilities of 21st century learning and teaching, including those outlined in the ICT-20 call, in a way that properly embeds the Open Learning Analytics principles.
Open Learning Analytics Network – Summit Europe
Allard Pierson Museum
Amsterdam, December 1, 2014
09:30 – 16:00
We invite participation from:
Public and private sectors,
Innovators from all sectors of education and training,
Open Source and proprietary software developers,
People with experience of Learning Analytics interoperability,
Architects of modular and distributed systems.
9:30 Introduction – background and call to action
9:45 Lightning talks part 1 – all participants are invited to contribute a 3 minute talk/presentation on their particular interests in, and vision for, Open Learning Analytics and its application to education or training.
10:15 Coffee, networking and discussion
10:45 Lightening talks part 2
11:15 Breakout groups to discuss the field – explore the dimensions of Open and the nature of an open learning analytics ecosystem.
12:15 Lunch, networking and discussion – cross-over of ideas between groups.
13:15 Incubating Open Source – talk on sustainable approaches (Ian Dolphin and Jaeques Koeman, apereo).
13:45 Breakout groups to brainstorm ideas for action – explore objectives for collaborative projects that could be achievable in 2-4 years, the methods to achieve these objectives, and the nature of an Open Learning Analytics Framework as a means of coordinating action.
14:45 Coffee, networking and discussion – informally share and refine ideas for action
15:15 Breakout groups to sort and prioritise actions – decide which ideas seem most promising, and develop them a little.
15:45 Plenary feedback, discussion on next actions – report back from groups on promising ideas, and open discussion on “what next” for Open Learning Analytics (in Europe).
Outputs and Follow-on from the Meeting
Introductory slides are deposited on slideshare.
An Open Learning Analytics Network Europe Google Group has been created for follow-on discussion and announcements. Please join if you are interested in what we organise next, or have some ideas to share.
Notes from the group sessions, the collation of lightening talk slides, a collection of “one page” summaries (or people, organisations, and pitches), and the slides from Ian Dolphin’s talk on the Apereo Incubators are all available in a Google Drive Folder.
This summit is being organised in collaboration with Alan Berg and colleagues at the University of Amsterdam, and the Apereo Learning Analytics Initiative.