What are the Challenges of Learning Analytics in Higher Education?

Learning Analytics in Higher Education has proven to be helpful to universities and colleges. The benefits stand behind the strategies that Learning Analytics can offer in regards to resources allocation, student success, and finance.

In their paper, Philipp, Khalil, and Ebner (2017) carried out a literature review of 101 Learning Analytics papers in Higher Education. They presented several research questions. One of these was "What kind of limitations do the papers mention when Learning Analytics is applied in Higher Education?". The authors answered the question in three main categories:

  • Limitations through the time: Many researchers stated that continuous work is always needed in order to prove hypotheses or because of projects shortages.
  • Limitations through the size: Some of the studied publications of the literature talked about the small group sizes and the unsure scalability of the context.
  • Limitations through ethics and culture: the most interesting part of the authors' study was the limitations of the culture. Several studied publications mentioned that the Learning Analytics in Higher Education approaches only work in specific educational and ethical cultures and are not possible elsewhere. 

The authors at the end argue that Learning Analytics imply moral practices. The ethical constraints drive the above-mentioned limitations to a wider extent and they ask for more and more consideration of the type of data used of Higher Education in Learning Analytics.

Leitner, P., Khalil, M., & Ebner, M. (2017). Learning Analytics in Higher Education—A Literature Review. In Learning Analytics: Fundaments, Applications, and Trends (pp. 1-23). Springer International Publishing.

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