Educational Data Mining

The Learning Analytics and Knowledge Dataset

Davide TaibiRome (I), November 2013 -"Learning analytics will play an ever greater key role in providing tools and methodologies capable of managing the processes related to eLearning," says Davide Taibi. He is a researcher at Italy's Institute for Educational Technologies at the National Research Council. His research activities mainly focus on the application of innovative technologies in the eLearning field, with particular emphasis on mobile learning, the semantic web, and linked data for eLearning.

What role does learning analytics play in Italy?

Davide Taibi: Learning analytics has not widely been adopted in Italy. In fact, the Learning Analytics and Knowledge Dataset, the work I am presenting at OEB that brings together papers from the main journals and conferences on learning analytics and educational data mining, has few contributions from Italian institutions. However, more recently, the first learning-analytics applications have begun to appear in the Italian landscape, demonstrating an increasing interest in this field.

Where is it used, and what are the results being used for?

Davide Taibi: The field of application of learning analytics approaches is quite wide. They have been successfully applied in different learning contexts, from mobile learning to MOOCs. In the contexts in which learning analytics is applied, data is not collected solely for evaluating students’ results. Analysis of the data focuses on the whole learning process and aims at providing specific clues to improve and refine the process itself.

What has changed since learning analytics has been brought into use?

Davide Taibi: The influence of the changes introduced by the application of learning analytics approaches to the learning scenario is twofold. On the one hand, learning institutions are increasingly often oriented towards a data-driven approach, improving the types of data collected and paying particular attention to the quality of data. On the other hand, the results of the analysis undertaken make educators and learners more aware of the learning environment in which they operate.

What role do you see learning analytics playing in the future?

Davide Taibi: The Learning Analytics and Knowledge Dataset shows that the main actors involved in the eLearning field are participating more frequently in conferences related to learning analytics and generally showing greater interest. Moreover, the availability of data to be analyzed is increasing due to the data produced from MOOCs and devices used in everyday life. In this scenario, learning analytics, which aims at "understanding and optimizing learning and the environments in which it occurs", will play an ever-greater key role in providing tools and methodologies capable of managing the processes related to eLearning.