Our Learning Analytics are Our Pedagogy

In this keynote to Macquarie University’s Expanding Horizons 2012 conference , I gave an overview of how the field is developing at macro, meso and micro scales, and then later on make a connection to the seminal work of the Assessment Reform Group on Assessment for Learning, in which University of Bristol played an active role through Patricia Broadfoot, and also to Paul Collard, who presents what is for me a provocative metaphor for the challenge we now face in education: musical reproduction ≠ musicality

Abstract: “Learning Analytics”: unprecedented data sets and live data streams about learners, with computational power to help make sense of it all, and new breeds of staff who can talk predictive models, pedagogy and ethics. This means rather different things to different people: unprecedented opportunity to study, benchmark and improve educational practice, at scales from countries and institutions, to departments, individual teachers and learners. “Benchmarking” may trigger dystopic visions of dumbed down proxies for ‘real teaching and learning’, but an emu response is no good. For educational institutions, our calling is to raise the quality of debate, shape external and internal policy, and engage with the companies and open communities developing the future infrastructure. How we deploy these new tools rests critically on assessment regimes, what can be logged and measured with integrity, and what we think it means to deliver education that equips citizens for a complex, uncertain world.

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