Learning Analytics and BIG data in Higher education


The use of Big data analytics in higher education is a relatively new area of practice and research. In context of educational institutions, Every time a student interacts with their university – be that going to the library, logging into their virtual learning environment or submitting assessments online – they leave behind a digital footprint. Learning analytics is the process of using this data to improve learning and teaching. Learning Analytics refers to the measurement, collection, analysis and reporting of data about the progress of learners and the contexts in which learning takes place. Using the increased availability of big datasets around learner activity and digital footprints left by student activity in learning environments, learning analytics take us further than data currently available can. Several reports documents the emerging uses of learning analytics in the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom. For example, in a recent report of January 2016, From Bricks to Clicks, the Higher Education Commission in U.K concluded that analytics had “enormous potential to improve the student experience at university” and recommended that all institutions consider introducing an appropriate learning analytics system.


The analysis of data that is generated via user interactions with digital world is enormously changing how organisations operate, process and compete in an international market. The impact of digital revolution and consequently associated analysis of user data have profound impact on the functioning and existence of corporations across the world. In the higher education (HE) sector this wave of data analytics has been evolving through the concept of learning analytics (LA). This research area has been proclaimed as a revolutionary change for education sector as the results of LA implementations will deal with core education challenges. These comprises of the concerns regarding student employability and academic performance, demonstration of learning and teaching quality, and developing models of personalised and adaptive learning. Although the importance of LA has been widely accepted across all sectors and stakeholders, still the challenge remains as how this venture can be effectively and efficiently rolled out across an educational Institution.




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