The broaden the scope of data available the higher the responsibility…

In a few weeks we will join the 7th Learning Analytics and Knowledge (LAK) conference organized by the Society for Learning Analytics Research (SOLAR) and the Simon Fraser University, to be held in Vancouver on March 13 to 17, 2017.

The LAK conference is one of the main events held by the Learning Analytics community, introducing outstanding keynote speakers, presenting state-of-the-art research, and providing a wide variety of exciting workshops and tutorials. It is therefore a great opportunity to learn about the latest learning analytics approaches, share experiences and build new collaborations.

We will be presenting our short research paper Strategies for Data and Learning Analytics Informed National Education Policies: the Case of Uruguay, authored by Dr. Cecilia Aguerrebere, Dr. Cristóbal Cobo, Ec. Marcela Gómez and M. Eng. Matías Mateu. As follows the summary:

This work provides an overview of an education and technology monitoring system developed at Plan Ceibal, a nationwide initiative created to enable technology enhanced learning in Uruguay. Plan Ceibal currently offers one-to-one access to technology and connectivity to every student and teacher (from primary and secondary education) as well as a comprehensive set of educational software platforms. All these resources generate massive amounts of data about the progress and style of students learning. This work introduces the conceptual framework, design and preliminary results of the Big Data Center for learning analytics currently being developed at Plan Ceibal. This initiative is focused on exploiting these datasets and conducting advanced analytics to support the educational system. To this aim, a 360 degrees profile will be built including information characterizing the user’s online behavior as well as a set of technology enhanced learning factors. These profiles will be studied both at user (e.g., student or teacher) and larger scale levels (e.g., per school or school system), addressing both the need of understanding how technology is being used for learning as well as to provide accurate feedback to support evidence based educational policies.

In addition, representatives of our team will join the workshop “Beyond Failure: The 2nd LAK Failathon”, organized by Doug Clow (UK Open University), Rebecca Ferguson (UK Open University), Kirsty Kitto (Queensland University of Technology), Yong-Sang Cho (Pohang University of Science and Technology, Korea) and Mike Sharkey (Vice President of Analytics at Blackboard), contributing from our experience of barriers to producing and using evidence for learning analytics in South America.

The 2nd LAK Failathon will build on the successful event in 2016 and extend the workshop beyond discussing individual experiences of failure to exploring how the field can improve, particularly regarding the creation and use of evidence.

Failure in research is an increasingly hot topic, with high-profile crises of confidence in the published research literature in medicine and psychology. Among the major factors in this research crisis are the many incentives to report and publish only positive findings. These incentives prevent the field in general from learning from negative findings, and almost entirely preclude the publication of mistakes and errors. Thus providing an alternative forum for practitioners and researchers to learn from each other’s failures can be very productive.

The first LAK Failathon, held in 2016, provided just such an opportunity for researchers and practitioners to share their failures and negative findings in a lower-stakes environment, to help participants learn from each other’s mistakes. It was very successful, and there was strong support for running it as an annual event.

This workshop will build on that success, with twin objectives to provide an environment for individuals to learn from each other’s failures, and also to co-develop plans for how we as a field can better build and deploy our evidence base.

(*) This conference is considered a remarkable opportunity to enhance the partnership we are developing in the LATAM region, not only in terms of international networks but also as an opportunity of knowledge transfer on new methods for measuring and assessing education and technologies policies. In this regard, the Center for Research Ceibal Foundation would like to thank the International Development Research Center (IDRC) for its constant support to program development in the LATAM region, and in particular for supporting the participation in this conference.