Learning Analytics: Practitioners, Take Note

Ferguson, Rebecca; Ochoa, Xavier and Kovanović, Vitomir (2022). Learning Analytics: Practitioners, Take Note. Journal of Learning Analytics, 9(3) pp. 1–7.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.18608/jla.2022.7937

Abstract

From its early days, the Learning Analytics community has dedicated considerable efforts to opening communication avenues between researchers and practitioners. As early as 2012, at the Second International Learning Analytics and Knowledge conference (LAK’12), there were Design Briefing submissions dedicated to people who ‘spend more time building learning analytics tools than writing about them’ (LAK12 CFP). Since then, at every LAK conference, design briefings have been assigned a variety of different names but have always co-existed with more traditional, research-oriented submissions. In a similar manner, from its inaugural issue, the Journal of Learning Analytics has included a section, originally called ‘Hot Spots’ and now ‘Practical Reports’, that highlights the work of practitioners in the field.


From the start, the objectives of this deliberate mixture have been to inform researchers of the ideas that are successfully applied in educational institutions, and to provide practitioners with a direct connection to fresh, evidence-supported innovations. To facilitate this two-way communication between researchers and practitioners, since 2018 each research paper published in the journal has included a ‘Notes for Practice’ section and, similarly, each practical report begins with a ‘Notes for Research’ section. Within these bullet-pointed sections, authors summarise the main implications of their work for the respective subcommunity, allowing an easier flow of knowledge and ideas between researchers and practitioners.

For this editorial, we analysed all ‘Notes for Practice’ published in the journal, from the introduction of this section in issue 5(1) to the issue before this one, 9(2). Our goals were to examine critically the ways in which these notes have been used to foster collaboration between researchers and practitioners, and also to summarise key findings that practitioners can use to inform their work.

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