International Symposium and Roundtable on Learning Analytics: Possibilities, Paradoxes, Pathways

International Symposium and Roundtable on Learning Analytics: Possibilities, Paradoxes, Pathways

Thursday, 07 July 2016


In view of the increasing interest in the use of learning analytics for 21st century teaching and learning, an international symposium and roundtable was organized by the Office of Education Research (OER)’s Centre for Research in Pedagogy and Practice at NIE, in conjunction with eduLab as well as the Centre for Research and Development in Learning at Nanyang Technological University.

In this age of big data and smart cities, learning analytics bring exciting new possibilities for more agentic, engaging and equitable educational landscapes. Yet, the challenges ahead are substantial.

Themed “Learning Analytics: Possibilities, Paradoxes, Pathways”, this symposium was one of the first international discussions on the use of learning analytics in the education sector to be held in NIE.

It aimed to provide a global platform that brings together international experts, local researchers, policymakers and practitioners to share and converse on the latest advances in the field of learning analytics.

Over 100 participants, mainly from the education and healthcare sectors, attended the full-day event on 16 June 2016. The attendees included curriculum policy and development specialists and directors from the Ministry of Education, staff from National Healthcare Group as well as faculty and researchers from NUS and NTU.

international keynoters

Four international keynote speakers shared cutting-edge research and real-world implementations of learning analytics to optimize teaching and learning outcomes in their various international educational contexts:

Professor Shane Dawson,
Professor of Learning Analytics and Director, Teaching Innovation Unit, University of South Australia, Australia shared “Insights into Learning: The Application of Video and Social Analytics for Promoting Student Learning” (download slides)

Professor Carolyn Ros
é, President, International Society of the Learning Sciences and Associate Professor, Language Technologies & Human Computer Interaction, School of Computer Science, Carnegie Mellon University, USA shared “From Discourse Analytics to (Learning) Design” (download slides)

Dr Nabil Zary
, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm and Visiting Associate Professor, Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, NTU, Singapore shared on “The Silent Analytics Driven Transformation of Medical Education” (download slides)

Professor Dragan Gasevic
, President, Society for Learning Analytics Research and Professor and Chair, Learning Analytics and Informatics, University of Edinburgh, UK shared on “Key Lessons Learned in Learning Analytics” (download slides)

Two Research Scientists from OER also presented their respective K-12 schools-based intervention projects that aspired to leverage on the affordances of learning analytics to enhance students’ learning engagement and 21st century competencies:

Dr Jennifer Pei-Ling Tan
, Assistant Dean (Knowledge Mobilisation) and Research Scientist, OER, CRPP, NIE, Singapore shared on “LA Visualisations to Foster Collaborative Critical Reading Skills and Deepen Learning Engagement in English Language: Students’ Perceived Benefits and Problematics” (download slides)

Dr Elizabeth Koh
, Assistant Dean (Research Translation) and Research Scientist, OER, CRPP, NIE, Singapore shared on “Dispositional and Discourse Analytics in My Groupwork Buddy to Foster Students’ Teamwork Competency: Possibilities, Paradoxes and Pathways” (download slides)

local keynoters and audience

Each presentation was well-received with in-depth questions from the audience, which sparked off a lively panel discussion around pertinent topics such as ethics and privacy issues in the era of big data and learning analytics. Other key discussion topics included:

  1. How one size does not fit all in learning analytics as learning context and instructional conditions shape learning analytics results.
  2. The need to have multidisciplinary teams in institutions to understand and act on the complexity of the analytics.
  3. Developing capabilities of educators, researchers and policymakers to exploit the data into meaningful insights.

NIE Learning Analytics 149cr

“Learning Analytics is a relatively young field that brings exciting possibilities for 21st century learning and teaching, yet at the same time raises important questions and conundrums for educators that need to be thoughtfully grappled with,” says Dr Jennifer Pei-Ling Tan, who led the organizing of this international symposium.

“This event represents an initial effort on the part of OER/NIE to connect educators, researchers and policymakers from multiple sectors and institutions with one another and with international experts, so that we can together foster a vibrant professional learning community, build local research capacity, and enhance the pedagogic voice and collaborative possibilities in this field moving ahead.”

At the end of the symposium, attendees provided positive feedback and suggestions for follow-up events of this nature in the future.

Mr Seah Siang Chye, Research Analyst from the Planning Division of MOE, commented, “The symposium was well-organised and I gained new perspectives on the topic.”

Dr Tan hopes that this will be the first of many productive multi-sector, multi-institutional dialogues and partnerships to follow. “Only by working together can we possibly develop in-depth understandings that allow us to harness the affordances of Big Data and Learning Analytics while carefully traversing its pitfalls in the Singapore K-12 education sector and beyond.”

View the full symposium on YouTube below: