Today, at the EADTU-conference, Erik Duval shared some of his ideas of learning analytics with us. My impression of his talk is that learning analytics can be a way of thinking about empowering students and to make the students aware of their own learning and of themselves as learners. The reason for that is the conceptual difference between the system interpreting the data and presenting solutions for the students and the system presenting the data for the students to interpret for themselves. The last approach can, according to Duval, more correctly be referred to as visual analytics.
I must say I like the idea of the transparency of both learning and inherit in this perspective. It touches upon the concept of being responsible not only for your own learning but also your learning processes (in Norway we used to called this “Ansvar for egen læring” or AFEL for short). It requires some heavy scaffolding in the beginning, to make the students able to interpret this data. The reward is lifelong learners, I think. The reward is also the kind of independent thinkers that society requires in the future.
I must admit I have been sceptical to learning analytics, especially how it has been presented as more automated. I’ve been sceptical about how this will make education more standardized and less interesting. This other perspective makes me more positive about learning analytics, and I can see the benefits.
What kind of platform should we use, you may ask. I don’t know. The message from Erik Duval was any kind of means you have for measuring. Be creative.