I have been exploring the difference between what is called Learning Analytics and what I personally call Teaching Analytics. I see a slight difference between the two, and there is a lot of overlap. In my understanding learning analytics captures learning processes, while my “teaching analytics” is designed to analyse learning processes capturing information relevant for teachers decision making. You can say, but learning analytics is also about that, and actually that is what I have been told. If so – great. Of course, learning analytics captures learning processes to optimise them, but that is a very broad statement. In my view, teaching analytics is very narrowly geared towards “What does the teacher need to know about what is happening in the classroom now, so that the teaching can be adjusted to suit the learners better?”
Sadly, although producing the “teaching analytics” is the motivation for my PhD, in the latest review my panel did not appreciate that I wanted to help teachers, and asked me to remove all references to teachers in my text because “You can only hope that teachers will use what I will produce”. I agree that I can not guarantee adoption, but the intention was just to produce analytics that targets specific decisions. I must have come across as arrogant, while all I wanted was to help researchers who have little idea about teaching, project their cherry-picked content in a better manner. But oh well…
Anyways, I thought I was just too cranky over the definitions, and it is all the same thing anyways. Yesterday I watched a hangout for #Dalmooc where real-time learning analytics of the class was presented. It was an incredible work by Srecko Joksimovic and Vita Kovanovic. I can’t imagine how much effort was put into collecting data from media, analysing, making it look good, getting initial insights. A nice example of learning analytics in practice, and I do not doubt that the contribution into how we can understand learning from this analysis is meaningful.
However, my personal question remains – How does this data help teachers who are currently running the course optimise learning within the course?