Learning Analytics is the “measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of data about learners and their contexts, for purposes of understanding and optimizing learning and the environments in which it occurs.”  (SoLAR 2012)

This document contains some orienting resources to help newcomers to Learning Analytics get started.  The field is rapidly evolving and this list is immediately outdated, although I’ll try to keep it current. Thanks to Wayne Smith (CSU Northridge) for his contributions.

Short Briefings

  • 7 Things You Should Know about Analytics (
    Educause ELI article providing good introductory overview of Academic and Learning Analytics.
  • Learning Analytics:  Leveraging Education Data Infographic (  
    Infographic with a synthesis of the aspirations and interactions of Learning Analytics.
  • 2012 ECAR Study about Analytics in Higher Education (
    Educause / AIR survey of how how analytics are being used in higher education and plans for the future.  Useful “analytics maturity index”.

Research & Literature

  • Adams, B., Bienkowski, M., Feng, M., & Means, B. (2012). Enhancing Teaching Learning through Educational Data Mining and Learning Analytics:  An Issue Brief.   (  Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology.
  • Ferguson, R. (2012). The State of Learning Analytics in 2012: A Review and Future Challenges. ( UK: Knowledge Media Institute, The Open University.
  • Learning Analytics:  Guidelines for Ethical Use (  Crowdsourced googledoc with ideas and issues about ethical concerns of L.A.
  • Fischman, J. (2011), “The Rise of Teaching Machines”, Chronicle of Higher Education (
  • Fabio Chacon, Donald Spicer, and Al Valbuena. “Analytics in Support of Student Retention and Success” (Research Bulletin 3, 2012). Louisville, CO: EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research, 2012, available from
  • Open Learning Initiative (OLI) from Carnegie-Mellon University (  Embedded assessment into each activity; learner centered; data driven; personalized instruction (to the extent that human<–>machine interaction can be, but math is a good example where this approach has helped).

Systems in Practice

  • Signals Early Warning System (  Early warning system developed at Purdue University that analyzes student background and current LMS activity to predict performance.  Provides students with a “stoplight” indicator.  Commercially available via Suguard Higher Ed (
  • Blackboard Analytics (
    Aggregates, filters, and reports on multiple data sources to create dashboards and self-services reports in enrollment management, finance, and other areas.  Learn analytics promised for Spring 2012.
  • SNMP Network Analysis and Presentation Package (SNAPP) (  Open-source application to visualize (“sociograms”) discussion board connections and other SNMP-enabled devices.
  • Netlytic Text Mining and Network Visualizatoins of Online Communities (i  Web-based system for automated text analysis and the discovery of social networks from electronic communication such as online forums, microblog messages, blog comments and chat logs.
  • Tableau Public (  Free version of powerful visualization application.  Requires public upload and viewing of data.
  • R Project for Statistical Computing (  Open source statistical package; powerful and complex package for power users.
  • Graphical Interative Student Monitoring Tool for Moodle (Gismo) (  Open-source plug-in (side block) module for 1.9.x and 2.0 (beta) to display class-wide aggregate use descriptive statistics.

Tools & Techniques

Conferences & Ongoing Efforts

Key Journals and Learned Societies

  • The Internet and Higher Education (available via Elsevier ScienceDirect)
  • Journal of Online Learning and Teaching (
  • Journal of Educational Technology, and Society ( (special issue devoted to Learning Analytics is coming out in July, 2012)
  • American Behavioral Scientist (available via Sage Pub) (special issue devoted to Learning Analytics is coming out in July, 2012)
  • International Journal of Educational Data Mining ( (of the International Educational Data Mining Society)

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