Epistemology, Assessment, Pedagogy + Learning Analytics

Central to SoLAR‘s mission is the creation of an academic community around learning analytics. In addition to the International Conference on Learning Analytics & Knowledge, now approaching its fourth annual conference, a new open access Journal of Learning Analytics will launch shortly.

Here’s the preprint for a forthcoming JLA paper led by Simon Knight, a PhD student working with Karen Littleton and myself — congratulations on a solid piece of thesis work!

Knight, S., Buckingham Shum, S. and Littleton, K. (In Press, 2014). Epistemology, Assessment, Pedagogy: Where Learning Meets Analytics in the Middle Space. Journal of Learning Analytics. Available via The Open University Eprint Archive: http://oro.open.ac.uk/39226

Abstract: Learning Analytics is an emerging research field and design discipline which occupies the ‘middle space’ between the learning sciences/educational research, and the use of computational techniques to capture and analyse data (Suthers and Verbert, 2013). We propose that the literature examining the triadic relationships between epistemology (the nature of knowledge), pedagogy (the nature of learning and teaching) and assessment provide critical considerations for bounding this middle space. We provide examples to illustrate the ways in which the understandings of particular analytics are informed by this triad. As a detailed worked example of how one might design analytics to scaffold a specific form of higher order learning, we focus on the construct of epistemic beliefs: beliefs about the nature of knowledge. We argue that analytics grounded in a pragmatic, sociocultural perspective are well placed to explore this construct using discourse-centric technologies. The examples provided throughout this paper, through emphasising the consideration of intentional design issues in the middle space, underscore the “interpretative flexibility” (Hamilton & Feenberg, 2005) of new technologies, including analytics.

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