Higher Education


The use of learning analytics in higher education is growing rapidly to address many current issues, including student retention. This work package brings together people working in higher education across Europe with common interests in sharing good practice and research in learning analytics. The Evidence Hub website that we have built will be used to build up a picture of current knowledge in the area and to identify significant gaps. This work is being led by Doug Clow and Rebecca Ferguson at The Open University UK. This page includes blog posts relevant to higher education and more details of the activities of this work package.

Recent Posts

SHEILA project joins SoLAR SIG LACE

Dear LACE followers,

We would like to send a big welcome to our friends from the SHEILA project that decided to join our ‘SIG LACE’ under the umbrella of the Society of Learning Analytics Research (SoLAR). SHEILA (‘Supporting Higher Education to Introduce Learning Analytics’ http://sheilaproject.eu)...Read More »

The King is dead, long live The King! Or funding period ended but LACE continues.

The LACE project has come to an official end of its funding period with “great results” – according to our reviewers! BUT we hope that this website will not become quiet now and have therefore set out a range of exploitation actions to keep the momentum that the LACE...Read More »

Learning analytics: next steps

European funding for the LACE project has now come to an end. We are beginning to move from fully funded project to special interest group. This means it is a good time to consider the next steps for learning analytics.

In the last year, LACE has worked with the LAEP project...Read More »

Evidence of the month: Learning Analytics in Higher Education

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 the ‘Outcomes’ tab at the top of this page. The evidence of the month for...Read More »


The LACE project will be supporting the following events at LAK16. We are looking forward to talk with you on various occasions. The LACE team is marked in bold letters.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

The working group on learning analytics of the International Standards Organization, ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC36, has a full...Read More »

Ethics & Privacy in Learning Analytics - a DELICATE issue

Privacy, please!

Picture from Tristan Niot

The widespread adoption of Learning Analytics (LA) and Educational Data Mining (EDM) has somewhat stagnated recently, and in some prominent cases like the inBloom disaster even been reversed...Read More »

More Interviews in our video library

LACE organised in collaboration with University of Amsterdam the 1st Institutional Readiness Day for Learning Analytics in Amsterdam to explore the advantages and challenges to implement learning analytics in Higher Education.

After a very successful Open Learning Analytics Summit in Amsterdam in 2014, we were this year focusing on institutional readiness for...Read More »

New Flyer for 2016

As LACE is entering the last year of its funded period, we therefore developed an updated flyer with a nice overview of all tangible outcomes and potential collaboration possibilities. The Flyer was first distributed at the annual LACE event at BETT 2016. Here the digitale version for all those...Read More »

LACE Workshop at Open University of Catalonia

LACE has been invited to discuss ‘data interoperability‘ and ‘learning analytics supported instructional design methods‘ at the University of Catalonia (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya) at an Open Conference with various workshops.

With all the fog around questions like ‘What is the right Learning Analytics Infrastructure?’ and  ‘Do we collect the data in...Read More »

Learning Analytics : promesses et réalités

LACE has been invited to contribute to the French Conference on the State-Of-The-Art of Learning Analytics and actions points for a national research agenda for Learning Analytics. The conference has been held in Paris at the French Ministry of Education (07.12.2015).

Picture by: https://twitter.com/tkoscielniak

Over 60 people...Read More »

Keynote on Introduction to Learning Analytics still highly needed!


I have been asked to give an introductory keynote to Learning Analytics at the Dutch Onderwijsdagen (Teaching days). The Onderwijsdagem are a huge conference that attracts over 700 people every year, it is comparable to BETT in the UK, or OnlineEduca in Germany. It attracts especially teachers, companies and managers...Read More »

What’s the right tool for reading the future?

Ed Foster of Nottingham Trent University, UK, is an associate partner of the LACE project. In this guest post he asks what it will take for institutions to benefit from the use of learning analytics to support student retention and engagement.

If you wanted to invest in software that...Read More »

LACE Flare: Event replay on 23 October

Join the LACE team online as we replay our very successful SoLAR Flare networking event on Friday 23 October from 10am to 1pm (BST). Network problems meant people were unable to join the event on the day via the livestream. Instead, join us on Friday to watch the recordings...Read More »

Towards a Manifesto for Data Ownership

In this guest blog post Kirsty Kitto of Queensland University of Technology, Australia, asks who owns educational data. Her answer leads to an invitation to join her building no less than a genuine data pathway for a lifelong learning ecosystem.

If its free then you are the product: That is what...Read More »

Visions of the Future coming up

In September 2015 the LACE project will begin a consultative study on Visions of the Future of learning analytics and educational data mining. This study will inform a report on the future of learning analytics and educational data mining which we will publish in December 2015.

To gather a range of views,...Read More »

Evidence of the month: learning-analytics-based prediction models

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 July 2015...Read More »

LACE SoLAR Flare event in UK: 9 October 2015

After last year’s successful LACE SoLAR Flare, the LACE project is running another face to face learning analytics event at The Open University, Milton Keynes, UK, on Friday 9 October 2015.

If you would like to attend, please register at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/lace-solar-flare-2015-research-into-practice-tickets-17367324134.

We are inviting technology specialists,...Read More »

Electronic Management of Assessment and Assessment Analytics

Assessment lifecycle: specifying, setting, supporting, submitting, marking and production of feedback, recording marks, returning marks and feedback,reflecting (return to specifying)

During June 2014, LACE collaborated with Jisc and the EUNIS E-Learning Task Force to run a workshop session on “Electronic Management of Assessment and Assessment Analytics” prior to the LACE Evidence Hub, which brings together evidence about learning analytics. Everyone is welcome to add evidence to the Hub site.

The Evidence of the Month for May is another paper from LAK15 conference:...Read More »

Advances in Learning Analytics and Educational Data Mining at ESANN 2015

A successful special session on “Advances in Learning Analytics and Educational Data Mining” was held at ESANN 2015 conference on 23rd of April. The special session was organized by SmartLab, University of Genoa and Eindhoven University...Read More »

George Siemens Interview - "Making Learning More Human"

In this final (seven minute) interview from the LAK15 conference, George Siemens from the University of Texas at Arlington and Athabasca University addresses two questions:

  • What barriers have the learning analytics community overcome in the last three to five years?
  • How will learning analytics develop...Read More »

Abelardo Pardo Interview - "Learning Analytics will increase Student Capture"

In this interview from the LAK15 conference Abelardo Pardo from the University of Sydney considers some of the differences between Europe and Australia in how data is being used in institutions. Having recently moved to Sydney he thinks there is a much bigger focus in Australia on “using data to...Read More »

Shane Dawson Interview - Learning Analytics Needs a Solid Evidence Base

In this short interview Shane Dawson, from the University of South Australia, talks about how the field of learning analytics is developing especially in the area of privacy and ethics where new policies are being written and adopted. In the future he believes there will be more personalisation and implementation...Read More »

Learning Analytics "Silent Storm" - Alyssa Wise Interview #LAK15

In this interview recorded at the LAK15 conference, Scaling Up: Big Data to Big Impact, Dr Alyssa Wise from Simon Fraser University in Canada discusses the “silent storm” of learning analytics which she believes will make...Read More »

Paul Prinsloo Interview - "Multidisciplinary Approach Enriches Discourse"

Paul Prinsloo is an Educational Researcher at the University of South Africa, the biggest distance learning institution on the African continent. In this interview (filmed at the LAK15 conference” he discusses how learning analytics has become more interdisciplinary over the last...Read More »

Alan Berg Interview - "Learning Analytics Impacting on National Policy"

In this interview recorded at the LAK15 conference Alan Berg, Learning Analytics Community Officer for the Apereo Foundation, and the Innovation Group at the University of Amsterdam discusses how learning analytics is evolving. Community events are helping...Read More »

Evidence of the month: learning analytics meets measurement theory

The LACE Evidence Hub brings together evidence about learning analytics from all around the world and relates it to four propositions

  • Learning analytics improve learning outcomes
  • Learning analytics improve learning support and teaching, including retention, completion and progression.
  • Learning analytics are taken up and used widely, including deployment at scale.
  • Learning...Read More »

Interview with Erik Duval at LAK15

During LAK15 Tore Hoel, Hendrik Drachsler and Maren Scheffel took the opportunity to interview a number of international experts in learning analytics. Over the next few weeks we will be publishing these interviews which revolved around two questions:

  • What barriers have the learning analytics community...Read More »

Call for Datasets

At the recent LAK15 conference, the high demand to have an overview of available datasets for Learning Analytics research has become evident. Based on the discussions at LAk15, we created a Call for Dataset descriptions together with the Journal for Learning Analytics (JLA), which will be published in a Special Issue.

We...Read More »

New Learning Analytics Practitioner Case Studies for #LAK15

To coincide with the LAK15 (Learning Analytics and Knowledge) conference Scaling Up: Big Data to Big Impact  LACE is publishing three papers in the Learning Analytics Review which will be presented in the practitioner track of the...Read More »

LACE Team Activities at LAK15

It’s a busy week for the LACE team many of whom are in New York State attending LAK15.

If you want to catch up with them or follow on Twitter (#laceproject)- the table below summarises who is doing what and when.

The overview schedule gives...Read More »

LACE project sessions at LAK15

The LACE project team will be taking part in several sessions at The 5th International Conference on Learning Analytics & Knowledge – Scaling Up: Big Data to...Read More »

Master Class on Learning Analytics and Visualisation of Data

On the 20th of November I organized a master class at the well-organized Media and Learning Conference in Brussels on Learning Analytics and Visualisation of Data. I was grateful for this subject as visualisation is a very important aspect in the...Read More »

New publication: Measuring and Understanding Learner Emotions: Evidence and Prospects

The LACE project is pleased to announce the publication the first paper in the Learning Analytics Review series, Measuring and Understanding Learner Emotions: Evidence and Prospects. The paper by Bart Rienties and Bethany Alden Rivers from The Open University in the UK is a literature review of over 100 papers...Read More »

LACE SoLAR Flare: Scaling up learning analytics

The LACE project held a successful SoLAR Flare event at the Open University, UK, on the 24 October 2014. It physically brought together more than 50 people interested in learning analytics, with more than 350 people followed the live video stream online from 29 different countries across 5 continents, and many...Read More »

Open Learning Analytics - European Summit Announced

LACE is pleased to announce that it will be organising a one day summit event to broker collaboration around the idea of an Open Learning Analytics platform – based on principles of modularity, open architectures, and open standards – in Amsterdam on December 1st 2014, collaborating with colleagues from the...Read More »

On the Question of Validity in Learning Analytics

The question of whether or not something works is a basic one to ask when investing time and money in changing practice and in using new technologies. For learning analytics, the moral dimension adds a certain imperative, although there is much that we do by tradition in teaching and learning...Read More »

Using data to improve student success

In this Guest post Paul Prinsloo research professor in open distance learning at the University of South Africa discusses how South African Universities are starting to use learning analytics to improve student learning. The post first appeared in World University News.

Digital technologies...Read More »

MOOCs and Learning Analytics

On Wednesday September 24 Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, organized a one-day conference on MOOCs and Learning Analytics. About 80 people from all over Sweden attended. MOOCs have had a slow start in Sweden and the idea...Read More »

Learning analytics: asking the right questions

The ECTEL / iKNOW conferences are just coming to an end in Austria and both learning analytics and big data have been high on the agenda. There was the Big...Read More »

Apereo Webinar: OAAI Open Source Academic Early Alert System

Our friends at the Apereo Learning Analytics Initiative – the Apereo Foundation is a membership organisation acting as a home for several Open Source Software development projects and incubators  – have just announced a webinar, being delivered by four of its...Read More »

Learning Analytics can bring about a sea change in education

A report, conducted under the auspices of the Learning Analytics Workgroup under the leadership of Roy Pea, describes how education data could transform how students are taught; how teachers are prepared and further developed; how education research is conducted; how education-related information is used and managed; and how foundations’ funds...Read More »

Learning Analytics: Not just about measuring but engaging students!

Using learning analytics as a means to engage students was the common theme emerging from a workshop gathering UK higher ed professionals.

The Lace project ran a workshop on “Learning Analytics: seeking answers at a time of big questions?” at the...Read More »

Call for Ethical & Privacy Issues in the Application of Learning Analytics

1st Call for Ethical & Privacy Issues in the Application of Learning Analytics
Organised by the EU FP7 project LACE http://www.laceproject.eu and the SURF SIG LA the https://www.surfspace.nl/sig/18-learning-analytics/
Submission Deadline: 15.10.2014,  Workshop will take place in Utrecht 28.10.2014, 11am – 5pm

The massive production, collection and processing...Read More »

How to give students control of their data

Everybody’s talking about Big Data and Learning Analytics, but if you don’t solve privacy first it is going to be killed before it has really started.” These are the words of Larry Johnson, CEO of the New Media Consortium (NMC), known for...Read More »

Learning analytics: bridging the gaps

The LACE project supported a Learning Analytics Summer Institute event in the UK – LASI@MK.

The event highlighted the need for engagement and dialogue between communities in order to develop insight and institutional change. It is increasingly clear that introducing...Read More »

Do Higher Education Institutions Need a Learning Analytics Strategy?

The LACE Workshop, “Developing a Learning Analytics Strategy for a Higher Education Institution” took place on June 17th 2014, with over 35 participants exploring the issues and considering the question of what such a strategy...Read More »

Learning Analytics from a Norwegian perspective

Morten Søby, from the Norwegian Centre for ICT in Education, recently publish an article about learning analytics in the Nordic Journal of Digital Literacy. In this article he argues that...Read More »

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”,...Read More »

Machine learning, MOOCs and LACE work at LAK14

Rebecca Ferguson speaking at LAK14

Learning Analytics and Knowledge (LAK) is the major international conference for learning analytics. LAK14, in Indianapolis (24-28 March 2014), was the fourth of these and,...Read More »

More Data Can Lead to Poor Student Choices

An article appeared in the Times Higher Education online magazine recently (April 3, 2014) under the heading “More data can lead to poor student choices, Hefce [Higher Education Funding Council for...Read More »


Higher education in Europe is facing large-scale change. A combination of the economic situation, government policies and globalisation are leading to new ways of operating and new business models. Universities and colleges face new regulatory approaches, reduced budgets and competition from the private sector. Students have to deal with an increase in fees and with a decrease in employment opportunities. Educators are increasingly making use of technology-enhanced learning.

The recent growth in free education provided by massive open online courses (MOOCs) opens up new ways of approaching learning in higher education. This relates to a growing belief that education in colleges and universities is failing to deliver graduates with the flexibility and skills necessary for individual and national success in 21st-century Europe. It is also linked with a desire to develop effective new approaches to teaching and learning.

In this context, there is growing interest in the use of data to produce business Intelligence, benchmarking and league tables. For university management, it is this perspective on analytics that dominates. Learning analytics and educational data-mining (EDM) researchers focus on the use of data to support learning and teaching.

The learning analytics community has many strong roots in progressive approaches to education and to innovation in technology-enhanced learning. The EDM community often makes use of more formal learner models, related to cognition. Together, the two approaches can be used to support learning and teaching in higher education.

Our objectives are to:

  • Bring together communities with an interest in the use of analytics in higher education.
  • Capture and share the latest work on learning analytics and EDM from both researchers and practitioners.
  • Report on significant developments and issues in this area.
  • Identify, collect and synthesise claims and evidence relating to learning analytics and EDM.

We are doing this by:

  • Planning, organising, and delivering LACE events for those working in higher education.
  • Contributing to events organised by others.
  • Capturing the latest thinking, using informal reports.
  • Producing more in-depth studies and reports.
  • Bringing evidence together in a freely accessible ‘Evidence Hub’.


This work is led by Open University UK in close cooperation with Open Universiteit Nederlend and support from Cetis and Høgskolen i Oslo og Akershus.