Discourse-centric learning analytics: mapping the terrain

Knight, Simon and Littleton, Karen (2015). Discourse-centric learning analytics: mapping the terrain. Journal of Learning Analytics, 2(1) pp. 185–209.

URL: http://epress.lib.uts.edu.au/journals/index.php/JL...


There is an increasing interest in developing learning analytic techniques for the analysis, and support of, high quality learning discourse. This paper maps the terrain of discourse-centric learning analytics (DCLA), outlining the distinctive contribution of DCLA and outlining a definition for the field moving forwards. It is our claim that DCLA provide the opportunity to explore the ways in which: discourse of various forms both resources and evidences learning; the ways in which small and large groups, and individuals make and share meaning together through their language use; and the particular types of language – from discipline specific, to argumentative and socio-emotional – associated with positive learning outcomes. DCLA is thus not merely a computational aid to help detect or evidence ‘good’ and ‘bad’ performance (the focus of many kinds of analytic), but a tool to help investigate questions of interest to researchers, practitioners, and ultimately learners. The paper ends with three core issues for DCLA researchers – the challenge of context in relation to DCLA; the various systems required for DCLA to be effective; and the means through which DCLA might be delivered for maximum impact at the micro (e.g. learner), meso (e.g. school), and macro (e.g. governmental) levels.

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