Open Learning Analytics Network – Summit Europe 2014

First reported by Adam Cooper at:  http://www.laceproject.eu/open-learning-analytics-network-summit-europe-2014/

Learning Analytics is rightly identified as being a potent enabler of change in formal and informal education and training, in educational establishments and in the workplace. Open technical architectures and Open Standards are a critical requirement for achieving results at scale; they provide a conceptual and technical framework to allow both proprietary and Open Source software providers to innovate in their particular niche. These are two pillars of the idea of an Open Learning Analytics framework, a technical and conceptual basis for multiple real-world platforms, which would be:

  • Open, with processes, algorithms, and technologies being accessible and changeable. This is important for innovation and meeting the varying contexts of implementation. It is also important in fostering stakeholder-trust in Learning Analytics systems.
  • Transparently validated, with the technical aspects, usability, and effectiveness evaluated, and the results and methodology captured in an intelligible format. This will enable organizations to compare products without the need for a deep understanding of the problem domain.
  • Modular to support the development and integration of “best of breed” components. Core analytic tools (or engines) might include: adaptation, learning, interventions, and dashboards. An open architecture enables the innovative tools and methods of commercial providers and researchers to be integrated into diverse learning platforms.
  • Standards-based to reduce the barrier to modularity and aid incremental adoption. Standards should also help to reduce market fragmentation and increase the number of viable products.

The idea of an Open Learning Analytics platform was first advanced by a group of leading thinkers on Learning Analytics from Europe, Australia, and North America in a 2011 visioning paper published by the Society for Learning Analytics Research (SoLAR).  Since then, a summit meeting was held in Indianapolis (USA) in March 2014 to promote networking, to develop thinking, and to explore possibilities for collaborative research and innovation, including through grant funding. This meeting made progress towards the idea of Open Learning Analytics as a technical and conceptual framework around which multiple stakeholders could coordinate their activity around areas of common interest.

The time is right to gather a European critical mass of activity behind the idea of an Open Learning Analytics framework since both Learning Analytics and interoperability are identified as key areas for research and innovation in the Horizon 2020 call ICT-20, “Technologies for better human learning and teaching”.

The purpose of Open Learning Analytics Network Summit Europe is to develop a shared European perspective on the concept of an Open Learning Analytics framework, based on a critical view of where we are now and what is feasible in the next 3-5 years. The intended outcomes of the summit are concrete plans for collaborative research and innovation. These plans will set out to meet the challenges and realise the possibilities of 21st century learning and teaching, including those outlined in the ICT-20 call, in a way that properly embeds the Open Learning Analytics principles.

Open Learning Analytics Network – Summit Europe
Allard Pierson Museum
Amsterdam, December 1, 2014
09:30 – 16:00

We invite participation from:
Public and private sectors,
Innovators from all sectors of education and training,
Open Source and proprietary software developers,
People with experience of Learning Analytics interoperability,
Architects of modular and distributed systems.

The summit agenda will include:

  1. An introduction by the organisers – background and call to action
  2. Lightning talks – all participants are invited to contribute a 5 minute talk/presentation on their particular interests in, and vision for, Open Learning Analytics and its application to education or training.
  3. Breakout group discussion, with groups organised according to interests. These will work on developing shared visions, a common understanding of key architectural components, identifying promising areas for collaboration, and propose some concrete actions.
  4. Plenary discussion of next actions.

The number of participants is limited in order that we can have an efficient working meeting. Expressions of intent to participate should be made via an online form, which will capture your areas of interests. All participants are invited to provide a one page description of their organisation; these will be collated prior to the summit and available to all participants.

Participants will be invited to gather for dinner on the evening prior to the summit (details to be announced). There is no fee for attendance. Lunch will be provided. Accommodation and dinner will not be provided by LACE.


This summit is being organised in collaboration with Alan Berg and colleagues at the University of Amsterdam, and the Apereo Learning Analytics Initiative.

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