A question I continuously ponder about. Job ads rarely seek social scientists or educational researchers. They seek computer scientists, data scientists, HCI experts, or psychologists. Academic posts may make some space for learning sciences or behavioural sciences. As if only putting the science attribute makes something a discipline that can measure. I have also seen some job ads seek qualitative researchers but then again, there the interest is in the methods of interviewing and focus groups, not the domain expertise (i.e. pedagogical knowledge; yes, I am also not sure what fully counts as that knowledge and how it should interact with evidence within the acclaimed evidence-informed practice).
I got into learning analytics because I thought that people with training similar to mine are being reduced and removed from decision making in educational contexts. By engaging with learning analytics, I personally grow to undertand learning analytics beyond interdisciplinary research. For me, LA is a way of thinking about the data from educational environments that is neither of these disciplines, not just them combined; and no, it is not quantitative educational research either. For me, LA is pragmatic, it is innovative as it borrows methods to capture what appears to offer the meaning sought in a particular educational problem, it attempts to honour the disciplinary and methodological assumptions but again, with pragmatic limitations. Yet, LA demands the presence of educational sciences because neither of those other sciences typically focus on the classroom experience beyond personal judgements of their undergrads and graduate students.
Today I read a draft of something that again, have excluded even a mention of education as a part of learning analytics. It triggered the same question I had during my reviews for LAK. I wondered if we as a community reflect enough on what is LA and what is those other disciplines, and to which extent (if at all) boundaries are necessary. I also wonder if my understanding of LA is at all similar to that of the community, and to which extent, if these meanings are dissimilar, LA is the research avenue that would embrace my current and future research.