This morning on the opening day of the CALRG 2011 Conference, we presented some of the recent thinking we’ve been doing on learning analytics, specifically in a social learning context.

A technical report setting out the line of argument in more detail…

Buckingham Shum, S. and Ferguson, R. (2011). Social Learning Analytics. Available as: Technical Report KMI-11-01, Knowledge Media Institute, The Open University, UK.

Abstract: We propose that the design and implementation of effective Social Learning Analytics presents significant challenges and opportunities for both research and enterprise, in three important respects. The first is the challenge of implementing analytics that have pedagogical and ethical integrity, in a context where power and control over data is now of primary importance. The second challenge is that the educational landscape is extraordinarily turbulent at present, in no small part due to technological drivers. Online social learning is emerging as a significant phenomenon for a variety of reasons, which we review, in order to motivate the concept of social learning, and ways of conceiving social learning environments as distinct from other social platforms. This sets the context for the third challenge, namely, to understand different types of Social Learning Analytic, each of which has specific technical and pedagogical challenges. We propose an initial taxonomy of five types. We conclude by considering potential futures for Social Learning Analytics, if the drivers and trends reviewed continue, and the prospect of solutions to some of the concerns that institution-centric learning analytics may provoke.