Moving Forward with Learning Analytics: Expert Views




Affect, Complexity, Ethics, Implementation, Learning analytics, Pedagogy, Policy Delphi, Power, Regulation, Validity


Learning analytics involve the measurement, collection, analysis, and reporting of data about learners and their contexts, in order to understand and optimise learning and the environments in which it occurs. Since emerging as a distinct field in 2011, learning analytics has grown rapidly, and early adopters around the world are already developing and deploying these new tools. This paper reports on a study that investigated how the field is likely to develop by 2025, in order to make recommendations for action to those concerned with the implementation of learning analytics. The study used a Policy Delphi approach, presenting a range of future scenarios to international experts in the field and asking for responses related to the desirability and feasibility of these scenarios, as well as actions that would be required. Responses were received from 103 people from 21 countries. Responses were coded thematically, inter-rater reliability was checked using Cohen’s kappa coefficient, and data were recoded if kappa was below 0.6. The seven major themes that were identified within the data were power, pedagogy, validity, regulation, complexity, ethics, and affect. The paper considers in detail each of these themes and its implications for the implementation of learning analytics.

Author Biographies

Rebecca Ferguson, The Open University

Rebecca is a senior lecturer in the Institute of Educational Technology (IET) and a senior fellow of the Higher Education Academy. Her primary research interests are educational futures and how people learn together online.

Doug Clow, The Open University

Dr Doug Clow is a Senior Lecturer in the Institute of Educational Technology. He was Head of the Centre for the Study of Educational Technologies (CSET) between 2004 and 2008, and has over 25 years’ experience as a manager, contributor and Principal or Co-Investigator on technology-enhanced learning projects in science and other topic areas.

Dai Griffiths, The University of Bolton

Dai Griffiths is a professor in the School of Education and Psychology. His background is in the arts and in education, and he has taught at many levels including primary and secondary education, higher education and continuing education, and in industry.

Andrew Brasher, The Open University

Andrew works in the Learning and Teaching Development team in the Institute of Educational Technology at the Open University. His role is to get involved in a wide variety of research and development projects, with the aim of determining new tools and practices which will benefit the university's teaching and learning strategies.


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How to Cite

Ferguson, R., Clow, D., Griffiths, D., & Brasher, A. (2019). Moving Forward with Learning Analytics: Expert Views. Journal of Learning Analytics, 6(3), 43–59.

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