Big Data and Learning Analytics

According to the 2012 Horizon Report, learning analytics refers to “the interpretation of a wide range of data produced by and gathered on behalf of students in order to assess academic progress, predict future performance, and spot potential issues.”

Learning Analytics can track log-in rates, time interacting with online resources, grades, frequency of studying, student involvement in discussion forums, and even time spent on social networking sites. The type of data collected varies depending on who is collecting it and what their purpose is. Often times, the data is used to identify at-risk students who need more help, are falling behind, or aren't mastering a topic.

Who is participating?
Examples include the University of Phoenix, Capella University, and the American Public University System. The institutions that conduct this type of technology are often making a profit.

Difficulties with LA:
Privacy can be an issue with all of the students' grades and history recorded online. The data can only be measured in a certain way, not leaving room for more "abstract" methods of learning (reading book and taking quiz vs. group projects and discussions). Using and implementing Learning Analytics can make classes and teachers dependent on this technology for the curriculum and grading. If the technology were to suddenly fail or the internet connection were to go down, the class would be completely lost and would have nothing to do. Additionally, if students were to use this at school, this means that there would be a working computer for every student. That amount of technology would be extremely expensive. If students need to work on something outside of school at home, they would need access to a working computer and reliable internet service.

LA serves as a great resource to monitor at-risk students and create opportunities for faculty or advisors to intervene and help. LA data can provide guidance to instructors and their approach to curriculum (whether the class is understanding the coursework, if changes are necessary to the curriculum, etc). Monitoring students and their progress on a routine basis can be helpful for any instructor.


The American Public University System uses Learning Analytics software to compile data from its students daily. Each week, the numbers are compared and analyzed by technology, and then the students are ranked according success in their courses. For students with the greatest risk of failing, interventions are implemented by faculty and the curriculum is often reassessed if many students are having trouble with it.

CourseSmart is a Learning Analytics technology. This is an example of what the page for a staff member would look like.

Key Terms (Vocab)
Important Individuals or Institutions
Links to Websites
Summary of Link
NextGenLearning is a program that will improve college readiness and completion by using learning analytics through technology.
"7 Things to Know About Learning Analytics" (what is it, how is it done, who, why, what are the downsides, where is it going, implications)
social network analysis
one type of learning analytics is social network analysis where a student's activity on social networks is monitored and measured.

Junyo is a program that will improve how schools teach and how students learn by creating learning analytics. Students, teachers and parents will gain feedback that immediately can
improve the learning experience.
government report on learning analytics and their implications

Tom Haymes
Learning analytics dilemma

example of a learning analytics program online