Learning analytics and higher education development: Towards a research agenda

The Technology of Learning Analytics


Professor Shane Dawson
Director of the Teaching Innovation Unit and Professor of Learning Analytics
University of South Australia

Professor Shane Dawson is the Director of the Teaching Innovation Unit and Professor of Learning Analytics at the University of South Australia. His research focuses on the use of social network analysis and learner ICT interaction data to inform and benchmark teaching and learning quality. Professor Dawson is a founding executive member of the Society for Learning Analytics Research and past program and conference chair of the International Learning Analytics and Knowledge conference. He is a co-developer of numerous open source software including the Online Video Annotations for Learning (OVAL) and SNAPP a social network visualization tool designed for teaching staff to better understand, identify and evaluate student learning, engagement, academic performance and creative capacity.

Seminar on the Technology of Learning Analytics
Date: 14 April 2016 (Thursday)
9:30 am – 12:30 pm
Venue: A1217, 12/F, Block A, the Open University of Hong Kong, 30 Good Shepherd Street, Homantin, Kowloon [Map]
Abstract: The so-called digital revolution has vastly altered how industries such as publishing, banking, media and communications operate. It is well anticipated that this trend for digital disruption will well continue into the future and expand across all sectors. Education is no exception. The ubiquitous adoption of learning technologies, and personal devices provides for new modes of education delivery. As teachers and students engage more with these tools we are seeing a parallel rise in research associated with learning analytics, data mining, and learning sciences. Learning analytics in particular has had strong resonance in the education sector (including teachers, students, policy-makers and administrators). As such, the field has been frequently touted as a potential “game changer” for education for its capacity to provide new insights into student learning progress.

While there is much promise, and numerous advancements in learning analytics research, the hyperbole is not necessarily aligned to the reality of embedding such tools and resources within an organization. The extraction and merging of alternate student learning data sources as well as algorithmic development, sense-making combined with the diversity of teaching approaches points to a complex system. As with other complex adaptive systems any anticipated impact will also result in unanticipated consequences. This presentation will first reflect on the noted promise of learning analytics to deliver new forms of educational practice. That is, the rise and enculturation of data-informed learning and teaching, the provision of early alert systems, flexible and personalized learning opportunities enacted through recommender systems and the development of individualized learner profiles.

The session unpacks the breadth of technologies adopted and developed to aid data capture and analysis to provide new insights into student learning. The second session explores the complexities of education to better understand why learning analytics remains largely in the developmental phase and how these challenges can be better addressed at an institutional level. A broader appreciation of the complexity of learning analytics processes and operations within organizations is critical for realizing the potential such analytics can bring to bear.

Optional: Small-group consultation sessions (for interested academics with research ideas/proposals)
Date: 14 April 2016 (Thursday)
Time slots:

Session 1) 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Session 2) 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Session 3) 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Venue: To be informed
Enquiries: Hoyee Auyeung (The Open University of Hong Kong)
Tel: 2768 6051
Email: hauyeung@ouhk.edu.hk
Co-organized by: The Open University of Hong Kong
Caritas Institute of Higher Education
School of Professional Education and Executive Development, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University

This event was fully supported by a grant from the Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China (UGC/IIDS16/H01/15).

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