What are Learning Analytics?

Learning analytics refers to the interpretation of a wide range of data produced by and gathered on behalf of learners in order to assess learning progress, predict future performance, and spot potential issues. Data are collected from explicit learner actions, such as completing assignments and taking exams, and from tacit actions, including online social interactions, extracurricular activities, posts on discussion forums, and other activities that are not directly assessed as part of the learner’s educational progress. The goal of learning analytics is to enable educators and institutions to tailor educational opportunities to each learner’s level of need and ability. Learning analytics promises to harness the power of advances in data mining, interpretation, and modeling to improve understandings of educating and learning, and to tailor lessons, tours, and lectures to individual learners more effectively. Still in its early stages, learning analytics responds to calls for accountability in institutions across the country and leverages the vast amount of data produced by learners in day-to-day academic activities.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the museums you know best?

  • As learning happens more and more outside of traditional institutions (especially higher education institutions), museums can increasingly become providers of high-quality online learning content. The learning that happens with that content can be measured and accredited in new ways and the teaching that happens with that content will increasingly take place outside of traditional institutions. It is important that museums, as educational institutions, understand the ways that education is changing from the factory model, to a more personalized model - and learning analytics is what makes that possible. While the relevance is not yet clear, museums too need to move away from a one-size-fits-all (more or less) model of learning to make learning more personal and direct. - beth.harris beth.harris Aug 23, 2011
  • I agree with Beth, although I am not sure how to make it happen.- rkvaron rkvaron Aug 30, 2011
  • Another perspective here.

(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?

  • Tests and assessment rarely happens in the museum space, so this entry should be reconsidered based on an informal learning space.- rkvaron rkvaron Aug 30, 2011
  • This is certainly an intriguing need and trend; I'm just not sure how technology-related it is. The most concrete examples I can think of have to do with discussions of meaningful metrics for social media (e.g., followers? likes? comments?) and how we know that we're making the best use of our time in that space. Engagement is a phrase we hear over and over without any good definition of the term. Whenever we get to talking about whether or not learning is taking place on these platforms we come up pretty blank in terms of how to measure and analyze such a thing. - dana.allen-greil dana.allen-greil Aug 31, 2011

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on education and interpretation in museums

  • Imagine knowing the effectiveness of an exhibit or a tour based on some statistical data from either a poll or other measurable data. Would be nice.- rkvaron rkvaron Aug 30, 2011
  • Another perspective here.

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

  • Khan Academy - beth.harris beth.harris Aug 24, 2011
  • Another perspective here.

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